Sofia came to our Care Coordination Services team lacking stable and affordable housing.
She lived out of her parked car for a few months with her young children. They faced many unsafe situations, like someone breaking into the car to steal their belongings, license plate and tags. As the proper identification and registration were missing, driving the vehicle was dangerous.
Sofia knew that the situation was dire, and she needed to get to our Community Office for help. She drove to our Community Office, even with the possible danger of being caught, where she met our Care Coordinator Lulu.
During Sofia’s first meeting with Lulu, it was evident that their focus was on getting her family into safe and stable housing. Sofia had a few immediate needs like food assistance and school supplies for her children, which the Y provided.
Although the goal was clear, Sofia faced several barriers to obtaining housing. One major challenge was the language barrier. Sofia completed her past application for an apartment in Spanish, and the apartment’s Management did not offer the accessibility needed to process such an application. As a native Spanish speaker herself, Lulu understood this barrier personally:
“I have seen firsthand how difficult it is to do anything and everything as a native Spanish speaker. As a child, I navigated systems with my parents. Now, I get to go home at the end of the day knowing that I made someone’s day a little bit easier, and her children will not have to shoulder the burden.” – Lulu, Care Coordinator
The second barrier was that Sofia did not have proper documentation to complete a background check. Often, our coordinators see this barrier as participants leave a situation without a chance to grab their social security card or ITIN. In Sofia’s case, this barrier existed because her belongings were stolen from her car.
After considering these barriers, Lulu stepped in and advocated for her at Council for the Homeless, a resource that Sofia had not yet connected with successfully. Together, they helped Sofia find short-term housing through Council for the Homeless shelter program. Sofia and her children stayed at a shelter while she waited for an apartment to become available.
With support, Sofia searched and applied for an apartment. Her little family has been living in their own apartment as of December 1st! Since moving into the new apartment, Lulu was glad to share that Sofia is doing well and is empowered to reach out if she needs help in the future.
Success like Sofia’s showcases the resilience in our community. As Lulu expressed:
“People think that resilience is something you either have or do not, and that is not the case. We can foster resiliency by aiding someone and empowering them. Sofia was so resilient already. To be able to do what she did, she needed empowerment-based advocacy. Part of it is simply saying, ‘You got this.’”