A place to call home: One year later, Katrina Stubbs finds much to be thankful for

Katrina Stubbs stands in her living room apartment in Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — There wasn’t a whole lot in Katrina Stubbs’ life to be thankful for last Thanksgiving.

All that she knew was she couldn’t get hired for a full-time job even though she had been working in various capacities since the age of 14 and was on the verge of joining the homeless population in Dover.

Ms. Stubbs was eventually forced to bounce around from friends’ houses, to Code Purple shelters, to the cold of the streets at the start of last December.

Fast forward a year later and Ms. Stubbs is enjoying an entirely different — and much more hopeful — life with a new career and her own apartment.
She is extremely thankful.

“I’m very thankful and very grateful just to be able to have a key and come into my very own place every day,” Ms. Stubbs said. “I know it’s peaceful, I have a place to call my own and I’m extremely grateful to everybody who helped me out along the way.”

She has been working in the Human Resources Department at the Delaware Transit Corporation for the past six months and moved from a transitional home that Interfaith owns from March until September.

That stay in the transitional home helped her save money to where she could eventually move into her own place.

It also instilled in her a desire to help other women who find themselves in her predicament.

“My ultimate goal is to purchase a home and have it remodeled for people like myself,” Ms. Stubbs said. “I’d like to be able to give them time to save up and go out on their own. I’d really like to have my own transitional home so that I can help others.”

Through it all, Ms. Stubbs, a native of Dover, has tried her best to never let life’s circumstances drag her down. She has pressed on through her faith in God and her desire to help others.

Last spring, she found herself in a situation of almost being considered a non-person.

“I am extremely blessed,” she said. “For me, personally, because I don’t have children, I’m not a vet, there’s no mental disorder, I’m not dealing with drugs, I’m not dealing with alcohol, I’m not coming out of foster care and I’m not coming out of prison, so there’s nothing for me.

Katrina Stubbs works on her computer in her kitchen apartment in Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“I’m, quote-unquote, able-bodied. Well, I know I’m able-bodied. I’ve been looking for work … I want to work. Literally everything that’s out there for employment I’ve been connected to. There are just no resources available for women like myself.”

Finally, Ms. Stubbs, who has a degree in human relations, found a new workplace home with the Delaware Transit Corporation.

The pieces started to fall back into place.

“This time last year I was living from place to place,” she said. “I would stay one night here and one night there. I wasn’t able to find a job and get anywhere.”

Dover City Councilman Brian Lewis took an interest in the plight of Ms. Stubbs after meeting her and discovering all of the obstacles she was trying to overcome.

After all, Ms. Stubbs was trying the best she could to keep her head above water. She had a part-time retail job and was a substitute teacher in the Capital School District.

She noted that a one-bedroom apartment in a decent area in Dover runs around $700 to $800 per month, so without a boyfriend or a husband, that’s a huge bill to pay.

“If you’re single and you have no one to help or assist you then that’s a lot of money,” she said.

“What struck me about Ms. Stubbs was her enthusiasm to find work, find shelter and contribute to society,” Mr. Lewis said. “Ms. Stubbs has a college degree and has taught as a substitute.

“Despite her many obstacles in life and being homeless she is so thankful for the smallest of things that many of us take for granted, like a place to rest our head at night, food on our table, a job and to contribute to society.”

One can bet that when she feels the cold wind blowing through the streets at night that she will get a quick reminder to what it’s like to be homeless in Dover.

Fortunately for Ms. Stubbs, it appears as if those days — and long nights — appear to be behind her.

“I just prayed and asked God to give me strength and wisdom and now I’m back on track when it comes to having a life and a career,” said Ms. Stubbs, who has her own blog at https://katrinap2f.wordpress.com. “I am getting ready to make a ‘Thank you’ video to recognize all of the many people who helped me get out of the situation that I was in.”

The past year has been one of faith and perseverance for Ms. Stubbs.

Back in April there appeared to be no end in sight.

“I was like, ‘Lord, I’m standing on your word,’” she said. “It’s just really sad that all of our resources are going to people that are dealing with drugs and that behavior when someone like myself is actually out here trying to work, trying to do better – I’m paying taxes.

“But you can be assured that I won’t give up. I never have and I never will. With the Lord’s blessing, I will eventually find that full-time job.”
Ms. Stubbs finally found that job, a place to call her own and she was successfully reclaimed her life.

One can be assured that she is definitely thankful today.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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