"We went through a very hard and long 2 years homeless."

Can you imagine being a single mom with two children as well as an honorably discharged veteran - and homeless? That is what happened to Melissa Fernandez and her two kids. In her own words, Melissa explains how Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles' Blue Butterfly Village, a two bedroom townhouse community for formerly homeless families, turned their lives around.

My name is Melissa A. Fernandez and I have two children, Robert and Arianna. Robert is just turning 13 and My daughter Arianna is almost 4. I served in the US Army for 13 years. As soon as I turned 18 I went in and I was honorably discharged in 2014. I had 3 overseas deployments, one to Iraq and two to Afghanistan. I suffered multiple physical and mental injuries and illnesses so it has been very hard for me to keep a job and staying in the Army any longer.

Without a job it's even harder trying to keep a roof over our heads. We went through a very hard and long 2 years homeless until finally one day God heard us and I got a much needed call from the wonderful Shenick Covington telling me we were accepted into the Blue Butterfly Village. Being here has changed our life tremendously. We are finally comfortable in our own home! I am 32 years old and I can proudly say this is the first time I have had my own house. I have always lived with someone else.

My children and I have been so happy here. We moved in on the 27th of October 2015 and have had our lives changed so much by something so simple. I know a lot of people take for granted the stuff they have but we are so very grateful for everything and everyone who had any part in the Blue Butterfly Village. Now with this new found stability we are finally able to grow together as a family.

Blue Butterfly Village is also generously supported by grants from The Home Depot Foundation.