Planning for a Brighter Future

Carla*, mother of two, hasn’t always had the easiest life. At an early age, Carla was figuring things out on her own.  Although she had a loving grandmother that raised her and her siblings, she lacked guidance when it came to planning for her future. With her parents out of the picture, Carla also took it upon herself to look out for her siblings trying hard to lessen the burden for grandmother. Because of this, Carla’s family has always been the most important thing in her life.

After graduating high school, she married her husband and had two children of her own. Although she and her family faced financial hardships and struggles, Carla also made the decision to take full custody of her nephew after experiencing challenges of his own. By following her grandmother’s lead, she knew how important it was for her nephew to grow up in a loving and supportive home.

With Carla unable to find work, the family relied on one income to help them get by. Living paycheck to paycheck and without a savings account, the family took out credit cards in order to pay for unforeseen expenses and emergencies. Sinking further and further into debt and having three children to support, Carla was desperate to find any kind of relief.

After moving into an affordable housing unit, Carla was introduced to LifeSTEPS and the programs we offer to struggling individuals who were in the same situation as her. She also learned about the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), which she immediately applied for. Nervous and not knowing what to expect, Carla was introduced to her Case Manager who went over the different classes and resources available to her.

For the first time in her life, Carla felt empowered. With financial education courses being offered, as well as one-on-one counseling, Carla was able to learn new ways to save money and budget. Through resume building and job training, Carla was also able to find full-time employment, helping her reduce her debt and finally start a savings account. With the services and resources provided by the FSS Program, Carla has finally been able to do something she never thought would be possible –earn her degree.

With life finally on the right track, Carla and her family are now on the path to reaching stability and self-sufficiency. “Always stay positive and don’t be scared to ask for help. Thank you, LifeSTEPS,” Carla says.

*name has been changed

Finding Hope After Injury

When Ann* moved into her new apartment last June, she did not expect to experience the struggle that she did. After being on the waiting list for a year, Ann and her husband David* were ecstatic when an opening for a one-bedroom unit became available. To Ann and David, moving into an affordable housing unit meant self-sufficiency and stability, which is what they both have always strived for.

One morning, as she was exiting the BART station on her way home from running her daily errands, she had noticed that the usual bus she takes back to her apartment was not stopping. Afraid that the driver did not see her, she began to run when all of a sudden, she missed a step on her way down the stairs. Crashing onto the ground, Ann was left with an injury she never saw coming.

After being rushed to the hospital, Ann was told that she had broken her front teeth and had incurred a gum infection. Being told that she had to call the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to file a claim, Ann became overwhelmed with not only her physical injury, but the confusing application of getting the process started.

Ann and her husband called their Director of Social Services, Qianying, in the hopes that she could help them fill out the paperwork involved. Once Qianying sat down with the couple, she carefully went through each form and helped with the calls that needed to be made. Not only did this put Ann at ease, but it also gave her the physical and mental support she needed to help her get through her ordeal.

Over time, as Ann began to heal, she developed a fear and anxiety of leaving the apartment. With the traumatic injury affecting her daily life, Qianying knew that she needed to help Ann get used to her surroundings and feel comfortable being outside. Qianying suggested that the couple both attend small community gatherings and get familiar with the new property they now called home.

After a few weeks of small outings, Ann slowly began to feel comfortable being outside of her apartment. She began to take daily walks around the property where she was able to meet her new neighbors and explore the community. With such a warm welcome from the other residents, Ann slowly regained her confidence.

Despite a traumatic injury, Ann persevered. Because of the help of Qianying and the LifeSTEPS community, Ann was able to get her life back. She is now finally able to enjoy her new home and move forward with her life. “I am very thankful that LifeSTEPS is here to help me. With the assistance they provided, I am finally feeling better,” Ann says.


*names have been changed