Krista O’Brien is working a new job she loves and living in her own rental apartment in Brewster with her three-year-old son, Cameron Auger. This situation, she said, is the result of having accomplished several important goals she achieved with help from Housing Assistance.
When O’Brien first reached out to Housing Assistance in 2020, her life, she said, “was falling apart. Things were just getting totally out of hand.” She was going through a divorce, and she’d relapsed. She’d lost her driver’s license after a DUI, and because of that, she’d also lost custody of her one-year-old son to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
“I knew I needed to get help,” she said. But there were few shelters that accepted mothers with young kids. She was told that if she got into a substance abuse recovery program, she could reunite with her son.
After calling all over the state, she managed to find an available spot at Angel House in Hyannis, which Housing Assistance then operated as a shelter for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. With help from shelter staff, she focused on getting back on her feet and in control of her life, graduating from the program in eight months. She then transitioned to Housing Assistance’s Carriage House, a shelter for women and families in North Falmouth, where she stayed another eight months.
Carriage House staff helped Krista gain needed skills to stay sober and live independently. In July 2022, she achieved a life-long dream by earning her commercial driver’s license (CDL). After eight weeks of full-time schooling, she became the fourth generation of her family to enter the trucking industry, following her birth mother, her grandfather and great-grandfather. Now she’s driving big rigs 300 to 400 miles a day.
Her work to improve her life didn’t stop there. O’Brien then worked with Housing Assistance family empowerment director, Katie Geissler, to apply for a financial rehousing benefit through the state’s HomeBASE program, and found a rental apartment in Brewster, where she’s been for just over a year.
“Krista was a remarkable client. She was so focused on being extremely independent,” said Geissler. Whether it was sobriety, housing stability or her CDL license, “her drive to be successful and to follow through and reach her goals was inspiring.”
O’Brien is thankful for the help and kind words she received from Housing Assistance staff. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “They really worked with me, encouraged me.”
That help included teaching her how to set much-needed boundaries with family and other relationships and how to create routines to keep her focused on her goals.
“Without that help I don’t know how things would have turned out. It just really worked for me — the people, the structure,” she said. “It was a time in my life where I was waiving my white flag and they were there to help me back to my feet.”