Thank you for Believing
Updated: Oct 19
The following is the prepared remarks shared by Porsche Phillips, a former guest of the shelter, for our Home Sweet Home event in October 2023.
Good evening, my name is Porsche Phillips. I thank you for the opportunity to speak here this evening. I was born to two teen parents in Chicago, but that was only the beginning of the many life challenges I would face. I saw my dad go to prison. I saw my mom in many abusive relationships. I lost a dear sibling to gun violence there just a couple years ago. I saw violence, lack of education, and poverty every day.
It was actually homelessness that brought me to Indianapolis. It was for 60 days at the age of 13 years old, and it happens to be what brought me to this city where I’ve been for 22 years. My mom went with the abuser from Chicago to Wisconsin and took my brothers and I with. Not long after we got there, he left us and took all the money too. My mother and brother went and looked for him, while I sat with my 4 year old brother whose stitches were infected. I started talking about our situation to an older couple, and they asked if we have ever thought about going to Indianapolis, where they were going, saying there were shelters there. When my mom got back from her search, I told her the couple would buy us tickets to Indianapolis. She was too depressed to decide, and told me to decide. I was just 13, and that was the longest ride I’ve ever taken. We got to Indy that night in 2001, slept two nights at the Greyhound station, then entered Holy Family Shelter.
I knew I wanted more than that for my future. By the time I was 21 I was pregnant and married. Thinking that this was the beginning of putting together the puzzle I built in my mind as a child. It was only the start of a journey that would test everything I thought I knew.
Having my daughter I fell in love for the very first time in my life, she was mine and no one could take her from me. Those were my exact words when they placed her on my chest.
Unfortunately my marriage didn’t last. I tried long relationships two other times the past 14 years, and both were unsuccessful, but gave me five beautiful children that I don’t regret for a second.
My 14-year old is a headstrong teenager–you know how they can be! My 12-year old boy knows just when you need a hug. My 10-year old girl loves to work and make her own money. Her godmother was a manager at Save a Lot and she would stand at a cash register and bag up people’s groceries. I have to remind myself she’s only 10. My two and one year old are a hand full!
I was pregnant with my one year old when I had to call Family Promise.
It was about two years ago. I was stable. I had a low-income home through the Indianapolis Housing Agency. I had been in their housing for years. I had worked since 2015 as a school bus driver.
That fall, my brother happened to be on probation, and he needed a place to stay. I let him use my address for his probation. The housing agency found out, and letting him use that address was against my lease. They took action.
The four kids and I were evicted in November 2021. I remember it vividly because I had just put up the Christmas tree the day before I got the eviction notice.
I ended up homeless, broken, with little money, pregnant with 4 kids. We stayed with the kids’ grandma, then at a hotel. I had to eventually ask my daughter’s friend if the kids could stay with her mom. I slept in the car outside. December came and it got really cold. Eventually I was willing to sleep inside with them, but I didn’t want to impose at first.
I reached out to a parent at my kids’ school for guidance. Her son and mine had become friends in kindergarten, so much so that they would act out if the other wasn’t in class! Her name was Melissa and over the years she has been a big help to me even during Covid. I am so grateful God placed her in our lives. She directed me to Family Promise.
I didn’t really know what to expect. But God is good and everything happens for a reason. I entered the Diversion program. Masha was my case manager, and always was informative and kind. I worked with her for a couple months, then Family Promise helped me with the move in costs to get a place! I entered the AfterCare program about 18 months ago.
In AfterCare, Jessica has been a vibe since I met her. There have been ups and downs. I applied for a house with Habitat for Humanity. When I didn’t get it, I felt defeated. Jessica was there with empathy, compassion and encouragement. At this point I feel like I owe her therapist fees!
They will never know the feeling my kids and I had when we walked in that apartment after spending months moving from place to place. How it made me feel as a mother that has always provided to have to rely on someone else. But to know that they didn’t judge me or make me feel like crap for being in my predicament means so much to me, we are forever grateful. I have my house now and starting a new job this week that pays more than a school bus driver. I’ll be driving a fuel truck because I recently earned a HazMat and Tanker endorsement on my Commercial Driver License.
Things aren’t perfect for me but the love and support I get from Family Promise gives me the push I need to keep moving forward. I like the fact that the house is ours. My kids have a roof over their head. They can play in the backyard. And I don’t have to worry about anybody putting us out.
To Family Promise, thank you for believing I could when I had begun to believe I wasn’t worth it. To all of you here, thanks for the support that makes their programs possible, and for this chance to speak here tonight.