“I think I went through all that for a reason,” reflects Tara, commenting about her experience with homelessness.
Explaining how “all that” happened isn’t easy because it wasn’t just one event but a string of unfortunate situations that ended with being locked out of her apartment by her landlord. That’s what can happen when you’re three months behind on rent, putting off one bill to satisfy another.
Desperate to find shelter for herself and two daughters while maintaining a full-time job wasn’t easy. After spending a short time in emergency shelter, Brenda Myrick, FPE director of social services, called Tara with the good news: she was accepted into the FPE Prevention and Stabilization program and could soon move into her two-bedroom apartment in Orange. As part of the program she would be working with FPE Case Manager Janice Wilkerson, to help her meet her goals for self-sufficiency.
Now that Tara and her daughters have settled into their new dwelling, she’s seeing how things in her life are gradually falling into place. Take her commute for instance. Without a car, Tara had to rely on a very unpredictable bus service to get to work. Seemed like no matter how much time she allowed, she was always late. How timely then that she received a pay raise that was retroactive for two years, and just enough to allow her to buy a car. Tara points to other events that righted themselves just in time for the better.
She credits Janice, her case manager, with helping her make so many positive steps. Calling her “a guardian angel,” Tara says she’s grateful for how Janice is helping her to be more focused and organized, providing good advice along the way. Tara has started a budget and is careful to live within her means. She’s also putting money away with her credit union so she’s better prepared for the unexpected expenses that can come along.
And how are her daughters doing? Tara was worried about their transition to a new school. But if getting on the honor roll and being involved in numerous school activities are any indication, then the girls are doing just fine.
At FPE, we say the Prevention and Stabilization program is solving homelessness one family at a time. We think Tara is living proof.