Denise Waits Cooks Up A New Future

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Denise Waits’ success is a story we love to share because her journey through homelessness could have taken a much different path. When she and her 16-year-old son Charles left the brutal cold winters of Denver for Arizona, they were hoping her medical conditions with sickle cell anemia and asthma would improve. She had secured an affordable two-bedroom apartment, and landed a job doing the one thing she enjoys almost as much as being a Mom – cooking.

Their hopes were dashed soon after the move, when Denise encountered unanticipated health challenges. Her asthma worsened, and difficulties breathing eventually landed her in ICU.

Denise was in and out of the hospital as her health deteriorated and she faced diagnoses of sleep apnea, stage four kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and gout. She was eventually discharged to Circle the City Medical Respite Center where she would have the time, and a place to recover and rest. By then, Denise had lost her job and her apartment. With no place to live, Charles had moved back to be with his father.

“It was great to have a roof over my head and get my health issues under control, but I missed my son,” Denise said, adding that they had never been separated.

She remained in the loving care of Circle the City for nearly a year, and eventually regained her health.

“Even after I was discharged, and no longer a patient, Circle the City was working for me,” said Denise. “They wanted to make sure I had a roof over my head, and was reunited with my son.”

The happy ending to this story is that Charles has returned to Phoenix and is living with Denise. With the help of Circle the City’s case management team, they recently moved into a new apartment, and are once again looking forward to a brighter future. Charles wants to get his high school diploma, play football, and ultimately pursue a future in video production.

Denise is happy to be living with her son, and cooking up a storm. She is also honored to be serving on Circle the City’s Board of Directors, providing the patient perspective in every discussion that takes place.

“The experience and education of serving on the Board is teaching me a lot about what it takes to run a successful operation.”

For Denise, the experience is also bringing her one step closer to her dream of someday opening a food kitchen.

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