The Story of Thelma & Louise

This time last year, Thelma found IPH and had nothing.  Today, she’s back on her feet and has a great story to tell.

On a cold, snowy evening last winter, 67 year old Thelma was brought to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) Safe Haven Shelter, which serves as an overnight shelter for street homeless individuals during the cold of winter.

Thelma had a stable life with her husband and son in Cohoes for many years. After the traumatic and unexpected passing of her husband, the family struggled to cope with the death. She began to suffer from severe mental health issues including depression, bi-polar disorder and early stages of dementia.

Thelma Shelter BW

Taking advantage of his mother’s vulnerable state, her son commandeered the family’s finances and depleted all savings. Devastated, Thelma left her son and moved in with friends.

Like her son, Thelma’s friends realized her generous nature and lack of judgment. Their greediness and frequent substance abuse only worsened her emotional state. Unable to live with her friends any longer, Thelma soon became homeless. It was then that the Albany Police Department brought Thelma to the IPH Safe Haven Shelter.

When she arrived she was drunk and shivering. Her teeth were rotten. She was hungry. Inadequate footwear had her feet swollen. She was temperamental and confused. Just a few years ago she had a family, a home, and a job. At this moment, Thelma had nothing.

Thelma was admitted to the IPH Albany Emergency Shelter and began rebuilding her life. With the assistance of the case management team, she obtained financial oversight and was provided with the necessary medications that helped keep Thelma stable. A new set of dentures replaced her rotting teeth, and ergonomic footwear put less stress on her feet. After several months, with the help of the IPH Housing Program, Thelma was handed the keys to her very own apartment in a nearby assisted senior living community.

To prevent loneliness, Thelma requested the company of a cat. During her discharge process, her case manager helped her pick out and adopt a cat. In a whimsical tribute to the popular 90’s film, Thelma and Louise, the newly adopted cat inherited the name, Louise.

Thelma Bed BW

Currently, Thelma and Louise spend the day reading, watching television, and socializing with friends and neighbors of the community. She continues to volunteer as a greeter for our weekly Community Breakfasts and uses the IPH Sheridan Hollow Drop-In Center.

When Thelma came to IPH she was completely broken and abused. The IPH team acted fast to restore her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Her movement through our innovative continuum of care allowed the entire IPH team to play a vital role in encouraging self-sufficiency, empowerment, and stability.

We know that homelessness does not discriminate and can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time. With your support, we continue to make a difference in the lives of the individuals and families that we serve. We can’t thank you enough.


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Just like Thelma, many individuals and families depend on the continuum of services we provide to achieve self-sufficiency and stability.

Our innovative model meets our clients wherever they are on life’s journey, giving them the tools they need to reach their goals.  As we grow to meet the need, your support is more important than ever.

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