“I had to choose between my husband and the safety of my children”, says Serena when asked how she became homeless. “It was awful. We were living in my car. I had to take my 3 children into the bathroom at Walmart each morning to wash them up before taking them to school.”
During the day, she used the internet on her cellphone to search for help. She found it in a rare shelter for women and children in a suburb of Atlanta. At the shelter she received assistance with childcare and searching for a job. She was hired by a temporary agency and went to work at a local school system in the cafeteria. They soon hired her full-time and she was able to move into her own apartment. Although she is paying in excess of 75% of her income on rent, getting a second job or a better job is difficult because she can’t afford to pay for after-school childcare for 3 children.
SVdP has helped her with rent and utility assistance as well as gift cards for food to help her transition to independent living. Serena has hopes of starting her own commercial cleaning business that one day may be her full-time job.
“I have had a lot of people help me these past two years. I just feel really blessed to be where I am today.”