All Yasmine and her husband wanted for their three children was a safe and affordable place to live. But that simple dream proved elusive. Having already left an apartment complex plagued with crime, they were disheartened by the rapidly increasing level of gang activity at their new location.
Yasmine remembers, “We were harassed by our neighbors for speaking about the problems to the property manager. Garbage was left at our front door, and groups would stand behind my car so I couldn’t back out. We even had to take turns leaving work early to get the kids safely from the bus stop to our apartment.”
After her husband got into an altercation with gang members, Yasmine knew it was time to leave. “By promising not to say bad things about the complex, we were let out of our lease.” Without a place to live, the family moved into an extended stay motel. “It was cramped and it was expensive. We couldn’t save any money and it was hard to align our paydays with the weekly rent.”
Their past credit history made it hard to find another apartment, and two months later, the family was still stuck in the motel. “We tried to keep the kids’ routine as normal as possible. We’d take them to their old bus stop in the mornings and meet them in the afternoons so they could get to and from school.”
Yasmine called Social Services and was referred to Families Together. “Within a week, we had moved into a short-term apartment. That was an awesome day.” Working with their Mentor Advocate, Yasmine’s family was able to repair their credit and move into a house outside the city. The children had to change schools, but to Yasmine, it was worth it. “They miss their friends but are doing well, and attend a local afterschool club. We don’t have to hide inside anymore. Finally, we feel safe.”
While living in the Short-term Apartments at Families Together, Yasmine and her family enjoyed the programs and activities for both children and adults. She points to the education aspect of the program as being the most helpful. “What I learned about budgeting and working with landlords . . . that really could have helped me in the past.”
Yasmine describes the experience of homelessness as pressure-filled. “It is stressful wondering how you’re going to get through the day, how you’re going to pay for the motel. As a parent, what you want for your children is for them to be warm, fed, safe, and have a place to sleep.”
Moving her family into a private three-bedroom apartment, even though it was temporary, was a welcome respite. “It was good to be out of the tight space and to be living around others who were in the same situation. Everyone we worked with at Families Together was great and willing to help.”