Formerly Homeless Mom Returns To The Streets To Support Young People In Need

"That was my lowest point, right there." This is how Vivian Greaves characterizes the experience of losing custody of her daughter.


Vivian gave birth to her daughter when she was just a teenager. Soon afterwards, the young mother found herself without a home to sleep in, a situation that resulted in her daughter being taken away. A distraught Vivian tried to get into a homeless shelter but was turned away. Fortunately, a volunteer with a shelter called Covenant House found her and directed her to the place that would welcome her with love and respect rather than judgment and pity. With help from Covenant House, Vivian was able to get her GED, a job, and an apartment—and with these stable structures in place, regain custody of her daughter.

"I'm actually glad that she went through what she went through," says Valerie, Vivian's daughter. "Because it helped her make me become a better person. Everybody looks up to her."

Today, Vivian has become an activist. She strives to show young people experiencing homelessness that there are people who support and care for them. That goal led her to participate in the first all-female "Sleep Out," during which volunteers sleep outside in similar places as where Vivian once found herself. This "Mothers Edition" of the Sleep Out event took place in both Houston, Texas and in New York City, and ultimately raised over $260,000!

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