Inside an affordable housing complex just outside downtown Orlando, a gently used sectional couch and coffee table sits in the middle of the mostly empty apartment. For Daiza, who’s now 22, this is the first home she’s had since she left her parents’ house six years ago.
“When I opened the doors for the first time, I was so excited. Then my kids asked me if we live here and I said, ‘Yes.’ It was an amazing feeling to be able to provide for them again,” Daiza says, reflecting on her move-in day.
Before they arrived at their new home, Daiza had a difficult time finding employment, because she didn’t have any form of identification. Originally from Haiti, she went through a long process to receive all of her necessary documentation.
By the time she was able to start her new job as a customer service representative, her savings was already so diminished, and she didn’t have enough to afford her expenses for the next month.
“Experiencing homelessness was horrible. We were homeless for a while and moved in and out of shelters and rented rooms. Nothing ever worked out. It was so hard,” she recalls.
When Daiza and her family came to the Coalition, she was referred to our Rapid Re-Housing Program, a Housing First approach that focuses on the quick placement of a family into rental units with time-limited financial assistance and supportive services.
She worked with her housing case manager to develop a budgeting plan and find an affordable apartment close to public transportation.
“I mentioned this place to my case manager, and she checked it out and did everything,” Daiza says. “She contacted the property manager and pushed through to get me where I am.”
Her next goal is to save, so she can have her own vehicle and not have to take the three-hour bus ride to work.
“I’m very grateful to have my own home. I take pride in my place and clean it every day.”
Thank you for being a part of Daiza’s story. Your support helps make homelessness rare, brief and one time for the nearly 2,700 people who arrive at our doors each year.