Written by: Theresa Chalich,
FAITH Programs Supervisor and HUD Project Supervisor
Over the winter, Deidre, a mother of a three year old, called the FAITH (Families Achieving Independence Through Housing) Program office to inquire about this housing program. She was staying in a homeless shelter for women who are fleeing a domestic violence situation. She was new to Pittsburgh as she, the father, and daughter returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh from their residence in Virginia.
The FAITH Program staff determined that she was eligible (homeless with a child, a mental health disability, and abstinence of alcohol and drugs for one year) for this HUD funded Supportive Housing Program. Deidre was desperate to leave the shelter, yet appreciated the safe environment that was being provided. The staff person’s first plan of action was to ensure that when mother and child left the shelter to inspect possible rental units that she did indeed feel safe and that her abuser did not know of her whereabouts.
Mom took the initiative to find an apartment to her liking. She signed the rental lease and a contract was signed between her, the realtor (landlady), and the staff person. Deidre moved into an apartment and with the assistance of the program, which provided her with beds, dining room table and chairs, sofa, curtains, and a sundry of household items. She converted an empty “apartment” into a comfortable “home”. Besides the help from the program, she, like many of the FAITH Program participants, are industrious in finding used and utilitarian furniture.
Deidre settled into the neighborhood and established the transfer of her mental health care to a facility in her neighborhood. This easy access to care was a boon to her child care needs. Once she had moved in, she inquired about studying for and obtaining her GED. She highlighted the importance of this goal as “I have to be a role model for my daughter so that she will get an education as she grows.” An appointment is scheduled for her to start this GED process. When staff recommended that an agency come to the home to evaluate the daughter’s developmental growth, she readily agreed and was grateful to have this done.
The FAITH Program was given a wonderful present when it recently received a phone call from Deidre. She expressed her gratitude to the staff for giving her the opportunity to show that “I can be an independent woman and live on my own.” This month she will be entering a health care program so that “I can really feel good about myself”. “I can’t thank you guys enough.”
*The pictures above are from a Thank You card that Deidre sent to EECM.