Homeless with a Toddler – Janet’s Experience
Janet and her three-year-old granddaughter Lulu became homeless after the passing of Janet’s close friend and roommate of 18 years.
“We were all already living paycheck to paycheck, but after this loss, it was like a domino effect of grief. I had part-time employment, but it wasn’t viable to make ends meet. We got evicted…we really lost everything,” Janet shares.
Janet and Lulu came to DuPagePads, staying at the Interim (Overnight) Housing sites in the evening and utilizing the Client Service Center during the day.
“Sleeping somewhere different every night with a toddler is not easy…However, the Family Sites provided a less intimidating atmosphere with other women and children,” recalls Janet. Opening an hour earlier to families, these overnight sites located along the southern train lines have no tolerance policy for offensive language or substance abuse.
“I wanted to make sure that when an employment opportunity presented itself, that I would be ready to take advantage of it,” Janet says.
Through working with this program, Janet obtained her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and obtained a full-time career as a school bus driver. She would work on her route during the day and stay at the overnight sites during the night.
“What I really like about this job is the flexibility it gives me. I can take my baby with me during the day and run errands in between routes,” Janet shares.
When she wasn’t working or staying at the overnight sites, Janet would go to DuPagePads Client Service Center to meet with her case manager to create a plan for stable housing. Janet’s case manager assisted her in applying for a Section 8 housing voucher which provides a rent subsidy for low-income households. When this approval came through, Janet and Lulu were thrilled.
“I thought I was excited to finally have peace of mind and stability after nine and a half months of being homeless, but when I told Lulu she would have her own room again, she was the one really over the moon,” Janet beams.
“I can’t say enough good things about DuPagePads. From providing a place to stay, meals and clothing to resources like employment partnerships to housing options, DuPagePads was there for us and made a challenging situation easier. Now Lulu is 4 and I’ve been at my job for 10 months, life is good.
You never think it would be you becoming homeless, but from staying at the sites, I saw it all of the time. Unfortunate circumstances can happen to anyone, but it is how you come out at the end that is important. Through my hard work and DuPagePads assistance, we were able to come out strong,” Janet says.