A once-homeless Florida woman is now giving back to women who have found themselves in the same position.
Vanessa Howard has come a long way. When she was 22, she was homeless and staying in shelters with her young children. She remembers how difficult her life was at the time.
“People treated us mean," Howard told InsideEdition.com. "People were kind of cruel living in shelters. It was a lot, especially going through [suicidal thoughts], not wanting to live because I couldn’t find a place to live.”
Howard said it was hard trying to find a place to live without having a credit background, until one good Samaritan changed her life.
“I went to this apartment; he had shown it to a lot of people," Howard explained. "When I walked through the door, he said, ‘I don’t know you, but something’s telling me to give you this place.'"
The man rented her the apartment, and the first month was free. Howard said that moment of giving helped change her outlook, and she now gives back to the community herself.
Howard later went to beauty school after being unable to find a job, and in 2014, she opened her own, which she called Giving Hands Beauty Salon.
In May 2014, she began giving back to the community, specifically homeless women, on a monthly basis.
She said she felt God was telling her to help broken women.
Howard and her five daughters hosted an event for 10 women, who received a full catered lunch, facials, manicures and pedicures, eyebrow waxing and hair-dos
They also gave the women gift bags that contained a bible, a journal and various beauty products.
“I really didn’t even know what I was doing," Howard said. "I just knew the vision that he gave me and it was to give back. We started praying for their needs. Most of them wanted us to pray for jobs and homes.”
Howard says that the majority of the women who have attended the event thus far have received jobs.
She says she will never forget how far she has come.
“So many things that we take for granted in life that we’ve been blessed,” Howard said. "To see their smiles, to see their tears, that’s my joy. The best part to me about giving back is I’m always reminded. I never want to forget where I come from."