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Help Carla from Becoming Homeless a Second Time
$1,165 raised
58% of $2k goal
26 contributors
4 Years running
Carla René is a double degree candidate in Astrophysics and Applied Mathematics at Tennessee Technological University, and she needs help to pay her rent and to afford medication for her Lupus.

Carla René has had to fight for everything she's ever had.

In December, 2008 when the economy tanked, Carla lost not only both part-time jobs in the same month, but also her home. She and her three cats moved into her car with nowhere else to go. A week later, her eldest cat died, and because she was homeless with no money, was unable to pick up the ashes. That's a pain that continues to haunt her.

For the next 2-1/2 years, Carla moved around, even living in a crack house for a year, the only one not on drugs or drawing disability.

She began applying to colleges in the hope of getting back on her feet. But when a listing for a rental room put her at odds with the roommate's girlfriend, she falsely accused Carla of assault which landed her in jail for two days.

At the end of her rope after losing her battle for disability and health insurance, and getting her car towed the day she went to court, she attempted suicide. "A sweet friend picked me up and took me to a hotel with $20 for food. I don't think I've ever felt so low."

But it was that friend that steered her toward a rental room that led to stability. "I finished a novel I'd started ten years previous, and again began applying to schools online. I've dreamed of working for NASA my entire life. This time, I wasn't going to blow that chance."

After being accepted to Tennessee Tech University, the financial aid remaining was enough to get her moved and into on-campus apartment housing. "I cried the day I got those keys in my hands!"

Carla is now a double-degree candidate in Astrophysics and Applied Mathematics. However, that dream may also be cut short. The apartment building in which she lives is being torn down at the end of May and 120 students will be displaced and in need of housing. And until Carla receives the next part of her scholarship in the fall, she's been working as a Teaching Assistant in both the physics and mathematics departments, and this semester, there just wasn't enough work to cover her expenses.

Now, for the first time since 2008, she faces being homeless again. Estranged from the little family she has, she’s had to face every challenge on her own. "I think I've given up hope that I will ever get on my feet.”

The money you donate today will go to cover Carla's rent and medications for her Lupus. Lupus and Fibromyalgia are both chronic pain illnesses, so every day Carla has to overcome severe pain and stiffness just to get out of bed. And in the spring of 2012, Carla pinched a cervical nerve in her neck and needs surgery, but can't get it because she can't afford the insurance and in her small town, there are no doctors willing to do the surgery for free. So she suffers with the severe pain and numbness.

But, she doesn't give up. Ever. "One thing I’ve learned is that I *am* a survivor. Things almost never go the way I hope they will, but it isn't falling down that makes you a failure. I do that plenty. It's staying down, and that's something I just don't know how to do."

Carla's Cereal Killer crew of Kittehs (from left to right): Honeybump, Playdoh (center) and Chairman Meow. They are all she has.

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