On a cold night in February, eight families came together to celebrate their accomplishments and progress. Coaches, Sue & Melanie, organized food, games and a festive atmosphere to build positive relationships among participating Northside Supportive Housing Families. The night highlighted each families’ progress on goals. Latece is raising 2 kids along with her partner. She was recognized for evaluating job training programs, enrolling in Twin Cities RISE! and working towards a career. Michele, mother of 3 sons, started the evening by helping us set up the room. She was recognized for her fulltime job stability and entering her 3rd semester of college as well as obtaining her driver’s license. Shantell and Tim came with two of their kids. Shantelle started a career in child development as a volunteer at PICA. She is now employed fulltime with benefits at a daycare center. Keleshia, mother of three young children, holds down a job in health care while she works on her GED. She has passed 3 of the 4 required tests. Gloria is raising four children. She works in health care customer service at a hospital, completed her GED and got a driver’s license. Felicia, mom of two, works as an AmeriCorps reading tutor in a North Minneapolis school. She loves the job and believes it is building her resume and skills to obtain similar work. Felicia also pitched in to set up and clean up after the event. Keith and his spouse are both working and raising two young daughters. They share child care and are actively paying down debt. Candice and her partner are raising four kids. Despite many barriers they are both working. Candice is training for a managerial position in her company.
It might all sound pretty straightforward if I didn’t know the back story. Many of the adults had never held a job for more than a year. Many had never had a lease in their name or managed to retain housing for 6 months previously. All were in an emergency homeless shelter for families before moving into Alliance’s housing and enrolling in the program. Some had or were working crazy part time hours required in the service industry. Most took public transportation to get kids to daycare and then to work. Something higher than $10 an hour was the highest wage any had earned previously. They were managing to pay rent and buy household essentials on less than $20,000 per year. I’d challenge any of us that have had more privilege in our lives and work to survive one day in their shoes.
But on February 5th, we weren’t focused on the barriers or challenges. It was a night to celebrate accomplishments and what was ahead. If you’d like to learn more about our program, check out our website (http://www.alliancehousinginc.org/program/) or give us a call.