Homeless with a Toddler – Janet’s Experience
Janet and her three-year-old granddaughter Lulu became homeless after the passing of Janet’s significant other 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.
“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.
Focused on obtaining stability for Lulu as soon as possible, Janet also took advantage of DuPagePads Career Employment Solutions program.
“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.
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 and attend workshops.
“I’ve taken a nutrition workshop, a computer course and an improv class,” Janet says.
Janet’s case manager assisted her in applying for a Section 8 housing voucher which provides a rent subsidy for low-income households.
Janet remembers the day she was approved for housing.
“I thought I was excited to finally have stability, but when I told Lulu she would have her own room, she was over the moon,” Janet beams.
“DuPagePads was there for us at every step and made a challenging situation easier. Now Lulu is 5, doing well in school, and I’ve been working for nearly two years!
You never think it will be you becoming homeless. 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.