Things were starting to unravel for Stephanie.
Bills were piling up. She was having difficulty paying her rent. And then it happened: she lost her job. Now paying rent went from hard to impossible and Stephanie found herself and children, Sasha and Stephen, evicted and homeless.
Taking temporary refuge at her sister’s in New York, Stephanie started making a dizzying number of calls — calls for shelter, calls for housing, calls for jobs. Thankfully, one of those calls panned out — the one from Brenda Myrick, director of social services at FPE, telling Stephanie that she had room in the Network for her family.
Having a place to stay like FPE was Stephanie’s key to making progress. She was able to find a new job that she loves: teaching math to developmentally disabled adults. FPE advocated the school district so Sasha and Stephen would be provided with transportation to FPE’s Family Day Center for childcare after school. And the volunteers at each congregation occupied her children with fun activities when Stephanie just needed a break to attend to all the things a mom has to do when the work day is done.
Even though Stephanie and her children had to spend the holidays in the shelter, she’s grateful for the time she needed to get her life in order. In particular, Stephanie credits a financial workshop for helping her get to the point where she could move into her own apartment. Offered by Investor’s Bank and Home Corp. through FPE’s Prevention and Stabilization program, Stephanie learned how to slash her expenses for rent, cell phone service, even car insurance resulting in $450 in monthly savings.
Now that she and her children are happily settled in their new home, she reflects on her experience. Although her young children sailed through their episode of homelessness they now have a new urgency when they wake each morning. She’ll hear Stephen calling, “Sasha! Wake up. We need to get ready for school on time so Mommy isn’t late for work. We don’t want to be homeless again!” Perhaps it’s an awareness that most elementary children don’t have but for the Edwards family they have a new-found gratefulness for a home of their own.