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Ada never imagined, when she and her two children moved from New Jersey to Tampa for a fresh start, that they would find themselves homeless. But, around Thanksgiving of 2020, that is exactly what happened. Out of the blue, the family member that they were living with told Ada that she and her children were no longer welcome to live there. For a while, Ada was able to pay for a hotel for her family. Soon, the money ran out, and they became homeless.

Ada tried to find work and a safe place to live for her family. However, a language barrier in Ada only speaking Spanish, made finding safe housing and work challenging for her. Ada was thankful for connecting with Dawning Family Services (DFS), as we provided emergency bridge housing for Ada and her children. In addition, we worked with Ada to understand and meet her family’s unique needs, such as assigning her a bilingual case manager and identifying that Ada needed funds for gas so she could search for work. Dawning Family Services was able to secure ASO funds for Ada so she could afford gas for her job search, as well as essential items she needed, such as bedding. With help from her DFS case manager, Ada was able to make progress and transitioned to our Rapid Rehousing Program, where we covered the full rent and move-in costs as she worked to stabilize.

In January, Ada expressed to her DFS case manager interest in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Ada felt that taking this leap into a new career path would help her and her family find stability. Thanks to ASO funds secured by Dawning Family Services, Ada graduated in May of 2021 from the Aguilas International Institute with her CNA certification! She began working full-time as a CNA in August. Things were really looking up and Ada was proud of being able to provide for her family!

About one month into working full-time as a CNA, Ada fell victim to theft. All she saved from her full-time job was stolen from her bank account. Around the same time, Ada was notified from her apartment complex that she would have to find new housing as her income was not enough to live there once she finished our Rapid Rehousing program. This was devasting for Ada as she needed to get a second job to better support her family. DFS continued to provide rental and case management support to Ada during this time, so she could focus on getting back on her feet.

Ada did not let these setbacks discourage her! Within weeks, not only did she get a second, great-paying job, but she also found a new, forever home. To bring extra cheer over the holidays, DFS was able to provide Ada’s children with gifts, including brand-new bicycles donated from Premiere Cycling! Her children were overjoyed to receive the bicycles and other gifts for Christmas. Ada now feels very hopeful about her family’s future and is excited to start the New Year with a new lease on life. Ada and her family are so thankful for all the support from ASO and DFS!

Written by Tori Calandro


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