Moved in February 2012
Todd Allison “Tabby” Burns lived on the streets for years, sleeping in abandoned houses, homeless camps, even port-o-johns. She remembers kind shop owners who would allow her to clean up in their restrooms. She would return the favor by cleaning the room for them. She also remembers malicious youth destroying the camp she and others were staying in and beating her and her friends, for no reason at all. She remembers being raped and robbed while living on the streets.
Tabby has an addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine. She remembers the days she came clean. The days she almost died on the streets. Her health had deteriorated and she had contracted both H1N1 flu and pneumonia. She was staying in an abandoned house, but her friends refused to call emergency because they did not want to bring attention to where they were staying. In a weakened state, she stumbled to the corner store where the EMT’s finally attended to her, finding that her blood oxygen was only 2%. She was in the hospital for days. That was a turning point for Tabby – she realized she was destroying herself every day, destroying her family, her relationship with her daughter. She left the hospital for Samaritan House, the shelter, and other temporary placements before landing at Moore Place, all the while maintaining her sobriety.
Sobriety is not a requirement for living at Moore Place where tenants are accepted according to the housing first model, but Tabby is proud of the sobriety she has maintained and she signed her lease in February, 2012. She says as she was taken on a tour of her new 360 square foot home she was, “like a little kid; I could feel myself getting so excited. This is mine. I can close my door and still be safe. I got air conditioning; I got heat; I got a little kitchen that I love to death; I got my own little bed; I got my own little living room; and I got my own personal bathroom. It’s perfect for me and I don’t need much more.”
She shares, “It’s great being clean and sober, and nicotine free. And clean. And I’ve got friends. I’ll do anything I can to help you, and if I can’t help you, I’ll find somebody who can. And that’s always been my motto.” Tabby’s greatest joy though, is her repaired relationships with her family. She goes to visit her mother and her brother and with her own home she is able to have her daughter come and stay with her. And for that, she thanks God.
Photo Credit: Brad Overcash