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We last heard of Ada fighting against all odds to find safe and secure housing for her family. With the help of the DFS team, Ada and her children transitioned from emergency bridge housing to a permanent home. The children were adjusting well to their new home and school, and Ada was enjoying her new full-time job. Things were going well as the family fell into life’s rhythm of a happy and stable home. However, Ada’s story was just beginning. In October, she received notice from the apartment manager that her rent would increase significantly in December when it would be time to sign a new lease.

Unfortunately, this was not a surprise to our DFS case managers, who receive daily calls from families facing drastic rent increases because of Hillsborough County’s affordable housing crisis.

This news was a substantial stressor to Ada, who was concerned about the emotional impact it could have on her children, who was adapting so well to a regular routine between their new home and school. Ada was determined to keep her home, so she accepted a 2nd job, to increase her total earnings, in hopes of remaining in her home. Ada applied for a new lease, with the additional income, but it was still not enough because of the rent increase. She was denied again and didn’t know how she would find an affordable home during the Holiday Season, in this competitive housing market. Ada was devastated.

Because Ada had enrolled with the DFS After Care Program, our case managers became aware of her situation and stepped into action. DFS team members from all programs worked together internally to find other options for Ada’s situation. DFS referred, connected, and advocated for Ada at many different apartment communities. Finally, Ada was pre-approved for an apartment that would be available in December, when her family had to move. She had finally found a new home for her family!

But Ada’s joy was short-lived. The new apartment required unexpected maintenance and repairs, which delayed availability. DFS assisted Ada and her family to be able to temporarily staying in a hotel until the new apartment was available. After overcoming so many obstacles, Ada received a call that the new apartment was available and ready for moving in. Ada and her children are doing well, and she continues working both jobs to ensure there is enough income to cover basic needs.

Ada remains enrolled in the DFS After Care Program and is grateful for the dedication of our case managers throughout this process. Without the DFS team, Ada and her family would have fallen into homelessness again.

Written by Tori Calandro


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