Original story source: https://www.wate.com/news/positively-tennessee/knoxville-nonprofit-helps-woman-find-new-start-after-living-on-the-street/

CareCuts Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For the first time in a long time, Kathy Hagy of Knoxville feels like she’s home for the holidays.

Her hard work and help from the Care Cuts Ministry led Hagy to take the steps to qualify for and move into affordable housing. For her, the simple act of washing dishes at the sink is a gift.

Hagy is starting to feel at home in her new apartment at Isabella Towers. It’s a far different life than the one she led on the streets of Knoxville for more than 20 years, after a series of mental health issues and what Kathy calls “bad choices.”

“My mother dropped me off here (streets of Knoxville) all them, 22 years ago and I never ever experienced anything like this in my life,” Hagy told us. “I’ll never ever forget where I come from. You know, I come from a good family and a churchgoing family, and my grandmother would probably turn over in her grave knowing I was homeless. I just wish I had made a choice a long time ago to do this.”

One Sunday, Hagy made her way to Williams Street in downtown Knoxville to the site of Care Cuts Ministry. Each Sunday, it’s filled with people who are experiencing homelessness and come to get a haircut and a whole lot more.

“You can get clothing, and good and you can charge your phone up, get a shower,” Hagy said.

Eventually, she gained the confidence through Care Cuts to apply for and get affordable housing through Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation. Marti Baker, the founder of Care Cuts, helped Hagy navigate the system, learning she qualified for disability.

Marti also helped Hagy set up a bank account. She now has the power to choose and pay for items that reflect her beliefs and her personality.

She finds herself looking back to where she was and how far she has come.

“I’m not the same person I was yesterday or a year ago or 20 years ago,” she said. “I’m a different person now.”

Care Cuts Ministry has helped more than 400 people get housing since it began in 2016. The nonprofit depends on donations. If you’d like to help, go to www.carecutsknox.org.

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