CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield mom Latika Lee can’t say enough about the help she received from a place that she says became a safe haven during her darkest days.
“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be," Lee said. "They saved me.”
She’s talking about Yeshua’s House, a home that’s designed to transition women victims of abuse and homelessness to emotional and financial security.
Lee says when she experienced domestic violence in her marriage, she sought help. Initially when she left home, she says friends took her in and helped her along the way.
Then, a friend referred her to Yeshua’s House at what she said was one of the lowest points of her life.
“I was driving a 25-year-old car. I had hardly any gas in the car," Lee explained. "I had all my possessions with me. I only had $5 in my pocket.”
In that local transitional home, she says she found peace and emotional support. At a recent event hosted by the nonprofit, Lee courageously told her story publicly. She explained how Yeshua’s House offered her housing, counseling services and financial education. She soaked it all in as she tried to deal with multiple issues that weighed heavily on her mind.
“Not just the physical assault, but then what about the housing situation? What about work? Transportation? What would I do about my psychological and mental health,” Lee said.
The most difficult part about her stay was being away from her son. But she’s thankful it gave her a chance to get her life moving in a new direction.
“Being there in the home gives you a sense of belonging because there are people there who support you. They help with the sense of safety for women in situations like this,” Lee said.
Angela Brown and her husband, Moses, founded Yeshua’s House. They have a passion for helping women like Lee. Brown is reminded of where that drive comes from each time she looks at two pictures displayed in the hallway of Yeshua’s House.
Two pictures of Brown's grandparents reminder her of her own painful family history.
One portrait was taken on their wedding day. The other picture shows Brown’s grandmother in a casket next to a baby that was stillborn. She says her grandmother was killed by her grandfather in the early 1900s while she was pregnant. She lost the baby.
Brown’s mother, along with her siblings, were orphaned and raised by various people in that mid-western community. She says her grandfather was never arrested or charged. Years later, Brown’s mother would share that story with her. That tragedy was the impetus for Yeshua’s House and Brown’s mission to help survivors.
Her mission is to make sure when residents leave Yeshua’s House, they’re well equipped and educated about healthy relationships.
“If you don’t have a history of health relationships, then it’s difficult to understand what it is," Brown added. "If you think being hollered at is not a problem, it’s because you’ve always been hollered at. Then, you don’t expect people to react any different or give respect. Often you don’t give it."
She went on to say that one third of all Virginia homicides are connected to domestic violence or intimate partner violence. Most are women.
To Lee, Yeshua’s House is a place of love and light. She hopes her story can help others.
“I hope anyone watching this who have gone through this will get the help they need so they can survive, too,” Lee said.
Yeshua’s House, a non-profit is supported by volunteers and donors, has helped 46 women since it opened, Brown says.
The couple now operate two transitional homes and currently have space to take in one individual as well as space for one family.
Click here if you know of someone in crisis or if you want to offer financial or volunteer support. You can also call Yeshua’s House at 804-605-3841.