SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sixteen months ago Sara Barker found herself living on the streets with her two little boys.

“I just realized there was nothing else out there for me,” said Sara.

She turned to drugs to escape her reality, isolating herself from everyone who loved her.

Linda Barker watched as her daughter hit rock bottom. With nowhere to turn, she came to the Women’s Empowerment of Sacramento.

“Women and children are the largest growing segment of the homeless population,” said Executive Director Lisa Culp.

Culp says three years ago, only 5 percent of women were homeless for the first time. Now, it has gone up to almost 50 percent.

“Many people who never thought they would be homeless have lost their jobs, have lost their homes, have lost their car,” said Culp.

So women take part in the eight week job readiness program.

Sara is now a graduate and her transformation has inspired her mom, who herself was in an at risk situation to also seek help.

“I’ve been here four weeks. I’ve learned more than I’ve done in a lifetime,” said Linda.

“To see my mom today, succeed in what she’s doing, and to stand by me, and to tell me that she believes in me, and to hold my hand, it’s awesome,” said Sara.

It’s now been five months since Sara graduated the program. She’s sober and clean; and just got her GED.

Sara now has aspirations of being a culinary chef and is the first in her family to be enrolled in college.

For more information, visit the Women’s Empowerment website.