Running Out of Time and Options
Rachel* saw her husband walking out of the property manager’s office and was immediately confused. He never visits there. Not sure what was going on, Rachel stopped her husband and asked what he was doing. He explained to her that he paid for the next month’s rent and asked for his name to be taken off the lease. He then told her that he was no longer going to pay any future rent and that he was leaving her and their two girls.
Rachel, on the brink of a panic attack, immediately went into survival mode. Up until this point, the family had been living on the husband’s income that was suddenly no more. Questions of how Rachel was going to care for her children, like being able to put food on the table every day and managing the 24/7 needs of her non-verbal autistic daughter, raced through her head. The word homeless kept popping into Rachel’s mind with images of her and her kids living in their car. It wasn’t hard for her to see the fear and sadness on the faces of her daughters.
After that conversation with her husband, each passing day did not feel hopeful, only taxing. Rachel’s next rent payment that she was now responsible for was right around the corner, and a month after her husband walked out, she was served with divorce papers. Rachel hit rock bottom. Yet, while it felt like there was no hope, not all hope was lost.
LifeSTEPS’ Director of Social Services at Rachel’s apartment community, Rebecca, worked with Rachel to apply for rental assistance through LifeSTEPS to bridge the income divide and keep a roof over the family’s heads, which thankfully came through. The moment her husband left, Rachel had been scrambling to find a new source of income, and with Rebecca’s help, Rachel was able to secure supplemental income through Medi-Cal as well as through In-Home Supportive Services where Rachel would get paid to care for her autistic daughter.
Rachel, despite feeling devastated throughout the whole situation, has tried to do what she can to provide for her family and keep them in a stable home. Rachel strives to become self-sufficient and independent as well as meet the needs of her family. Because of LifeSTEPS, and her own perseverance, Rachel went from her absolute darkest hour to now having a sustainable plan for the future where her kids can live in a safe haven and not end up on the streets. Her days were filled with hope once more knowing that she could and would do this on her own.
*name has been changed