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Formerly homeless woman now helping the homeless in Palm Beach County

Posted at 7:15 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 19:15:14-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- At the Lord’s Place in West Palm Beach you’ll find people like Shelby Swiderski ready to lend a helping hand.

“A lot of my clients I speak with, they have been harmed physically on the streets,” Swiderski said.” I’ve spoken with numerous amount of women that have been raped on the streets.”

A woman named Melissa was seeking services at Lord’s Place, Tuesday afternoon. She says she was abandoned by a traveling carnival after getting injured on the job. She says for weeks she’s been living on the streets in Palm Beach County trying to make it back home to New Jersey.

She is trying to reunite with her kids.

“There’s many different types of homelessness in Palm Beach County,” Swiderski said.

Three years ago Swiderski was living in an abandoned building after she decided to pay her college tuition instead of rent. Her perseverance eventually led to her getting help from the Lord’s Place which provided housing and mentorship.

Now she’s getting the opportunity to pay it forward as a peer specialist.

“Gratefully though this is my second Christmas I’m spending as a staff member of the Lord’s Place. It’s special for a lot of our clients because we are somebody to be there with them,” she said.”