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. . . pushing your newborn and your toddler in a stroller during the wee hours of night trying to keep out of harm’s way . . . sneaking your family into an unventilated storage unit because that was the only place with four walls and a roof. These are not the experiences of three families who have stayed at Dawning Family Services; it is the story of one . . . Tara and her two children, Theo and Tyler.

Tara explains, “I couldn’t stay at my mom’s house because she kept threatening me and stealing my things. The boys’ father’s house, well let’s just say that it just wasn’t the healthiest environment. I had no place where my sons and I were welcome.”

Under ideal circumstances, parenting can be a challenge. For Tara and so many other parents like her, obstacles often stymie efforts to provide for the well-being of their families. Without appropriate childcare, Tara could not sustain employment; without a job, she could not lease, much less maintain, the expense of an apartment; and without a home, she could not perform normal daily activities, including showering, preparing meals for her sons, and getting a good night’s sleep.

Fortunately, Tara, Theo, and Tyler were directed to Dawning Family Services where they were provided safe emergency bridge shelter, case management, and housing search services. While there, Tara found a part-time job at a local hospital, obtained vouchers coordinated by her case manager to place her sons in childcare, and enrolled in our rapid rehousing program, securing within ten weeks a lease in her own name for the first time in her life.

Tara shares, “The staff believed in me even when no one else did, including myself. They motivated me and reminded me of what I should prioritize and all that I could accomplish. However, they did not do the work for me. They sent me in the right direction so that I can take care of things on my own.”


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