Kris at work

Remote working from shelter, a new normal

How Kris and Maggie are rebuilding their lives by holding down jobs from a SVdP shelter

Kris Mahovich (pictured above) sat at her desk, eyes locked on the screen, headset on. Maggie sat at the desk in front of her with the same level of focus. They were hard at work, but they weren’t in an office. The pair works remotely from inside the computer lab at St. Vincent de Paul’s Washington St. shelter, where they’ve lived as residents since May 2022. 

It wasn’t long ago that Kris and Maggie used to lead a typical life. They both had stable jobs and a nice apartment in Tempe. They liked to watch movies and stay home and play with their dog, Georgia. But then COVID threatened their peace. 

Kris, who worked at Stanley Steamer, lost her job because the company had to downsize — business wasn’t good because nobody was inviting carpet cleaners into their home during a pandemic. Pretty soon, bills started to pile up and they weren’t sure what to do.  

Then one day, everything fell apart. They heard a loud knock at the door, it was a man telling them they were being evicted. Kris and Maggie said they hadn’t received any notice and were confused because they had rental protection because of the pandemic. It didn’t matter. 

The man told them they had ten minutes to get out.  

In the whirlwind of this crushing news, they got everything they could carry and were out on the street. They took an Uber to a hotel to try to piece everything back together, but it was too late. Their entire life was gone in the space of ten minutes. 

Over the next year, they stayed in hotels. Eventually, Maggie lost her job, and they ran out of money. After Christmas 2021, they were back on the street. They found their way to a shelter and stayed there for a few months, but it wasn’t working out for many reasons, the least of which is that they were separated from Georgia. Eventually, they had to leave because they felt unsafe.  

That’s when SVdP came into their life. Kris and Maggie were brought to the Washington St. shelter that SVdP runs in coordination with From the Ground Up and Community Bridges, Inc. — and with funding from the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County. 

“We felt safe here,” Kris said. “We walked in here, and we just knew we were safe. We were treated like human beings with dignity. They listened to us. We felt heard for the first time [in months].” 

Kris and Maggie were given two spots in the women’s dorm of the shelter, where they had beds to themselves and trunks to store their belongings. Every day, they have access to three hot meals a day, hot showers, and resources to help them get back on their feet.

Not to mention that they could be reunited with Georgia, as the shelter is pet friendly. 

Kris and Maggie's dog
Kris and Maggie's dog, Georgia

They got to work rather quickly. Within a couple of months of their arrival at the shelter, they both had jobs — remote work. Kris works for a call center, and for a while Maggie worked in the repair industry. They were even featured in an ABC15 story highlighting shelter and their remote work from the computer lab there.

“It really does feel good to be working here,” Kris said. “I feel like a part of the community again. I feel productive again. And that's really what I needed to push myself forward again, was that job." 

Leadership at the shelter realized the potential of this and encouraged other guests to attempt the same if it was a good fit. And the best part was that Kris and Maggie were there to help anyone out who needed it. Already they’ve helped guests with applying for jobs. 

“[A guest] did the application and interview in the computer lab,” Maggie said. “I was like, ‘Well, come back and let us know if you got it.’ And he came back two days later, he was so excited. He was grinning from ear to ear. ‘I got the job!’” 

Kris said they want to help pay it forward while they’re at the shelter, and that they’re planning to volunteer at the shelter after they move into their own space.  

“It's nice to be able to help someone else with stuff that we needed help with before,” Kris said. “We want to give back to this place as much as possible because they've been so amazing to us.” 

The future looks bright for the couple as well. They have been working and saving up for the last few months, and recently their housing application was approved. They had a meeting on Friday, Jan. 20 to talk about next steps and should be in their new home soon. 

Kris and Maggie
Kris (at left) and Maggie are happy to be rebuilding their lives.

Help SVdP get people housed

SVdP has a goal to rehouse 2,025 people by 2025. When you support the goal, you help people like Kris and Maggie as they move into permanent housing.