In early 2019, Tracy Smith, a mother of two and former employee in the Accounts Payable department of a local Port of Palm Beach exports company, found herself homeless and sleeping in her car after the elderly aunt she was living with passed away. At the time, her son had already been displaced for the better part of a year and was receiving assistance from the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County’s community partners at the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center.
In years prior, Tracy had often made her own way out of financial hardship, but this time around, her son recognized that the support of her community could go a long way in helping her to gain command of the traumatic circumstances that led to her homelessness. Thus, he put her in touch with his newfound advocates at the Lewis Center.
After receiving case management and other supportive services through Gulfstream Goodwill, Tracy now lives comfortably in a stable home with her 22-year old son. Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that Tracy Smith is newly employed at the Lewis Center where she is able to help others experiencing homelessness in a locale where affordable housing is relatively sparse.
Tracy Smith has always considered herself an altruist and describes how different it feels to be able to work in service of others as opposed to a bottom line. Since graduating from Bethune-Cookman University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1992, Tracy has continued to embody the wisdom “enter to learn, depart to serve.” She hopes that others in situations like hers know that help is available.
This article was written and published by our proud community partner The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County. The support of the community and our partners is crucial to our shared mission of ending homelessness.