From Tragedy to Triumph: How FloCrit’s Housing Department Helped Vanesa Rise Above Adversity
Vanesa’s journey at Florence Crittenton Services began when she found herself facing an unexpected reality that each of our students have encountered: she was pregnant as a teenager. Overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, Vanesa felt a deep sense of…
Vanesa’s journey at Florence Crittenton Services began when she found herself facing an unexpected reality that each of our students have encountered: she was pregnant as a teenager. Overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, Vanesa felt a deep sense of isolation. She had no idea what to do or where to turn for support.
“I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.” Vanesa recalled. “I didn’t want the baby at all, I was really young and didn’t have any support.”
Vanesa ultimately chose to have her child and was introduced to FloCrit at the hospital. Although she was apprehensive at first, Vanesa decided that she would make her son proud by receiving her high school degree and building a successful future for the two of them through the comprehensive support at Florence Crittenton Services. The community at FloCrit quickly became a safe space for Vanesa to learn, grow, and connect with others who understood her journey.
Life took an unexpected turn again when Vanesa’s apartment caught fire in April. One moment she was giving her son, Gabriel, a bath, and the next moment she was outside of her apartment building waiting for the fire department. Questions about what to do, where they would stay and how she would replace her family’s belongings began to overwhelm her. However, during this time of uncertainty and tension, she knew exactly who to call: her support team at Florence Crittenton Services.
The Housing Department at FloCrit swiftly sprang into action, ensuring Vanesa and her family had a roof over their heads. They arranged for them to stay in a hotel until a new place could be secured.
“If I didn’t have the resources from FloCrit, like if we didn’t have the hotel, we would probably be staying in the car because we had just paid rent for that month.” Vanesa shared. “It was really overwhelming and stressful, but we got through it.”
This support didn’t end with temporary housing. The entire FloCrit community rallied around Vanesa, recognizing the magnitude of her traumatic experience. In an inspiring show of solidarity, the FloCrit family banded together and visited Baby Bucks, our basic needs store. “They came together, not just teachers, but students, and they went down to Baby Bucks and got me…diapers, wipes, clothes for my son. All of them.” Further, the housing department supplied Vanesa and her family with items like kitchen supplies, toiletries, pillows, bedding, air mattresses, and towels in order to begin rebuilding their life in their new apartment.
“When you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, shelter is right there at the base,” explains Brooke Kimball, Housing Coordinator at Florence Crittenton Services, “In fact, a person who is experiencing homelessness can’t think beyond a twelve-hour clock. Until our students are all living in a home where they feel safe and secure, their education is going to be at risk.”
Recent data shows that 99% of FloCrit families are currently facing various housing challenges such as overcrowding, violence at home, feeling unwelcome, and rent payment issues. Though Vanesa’s story is a unique situation, the FloCrit Housing Department continues to be an indispensable pillar of our comprehensive support programs as we work toward housing security and stability for all FloCrit families.