May 25th was a big day for the little family of 46-year-old Jessie and her 18-year-old daughter, Tina. The two strung up balloons and barbecued for their family and neighbors. Just hours earlier Tina had crossed the stage, high school diploma gripped in hand. And the same afternoon, Jessie opened the mail to find her GED enclosed.
The image of mother and daughter graduating on the same day wouldn’t have been possible before Jessie and Tina moved into their affordable unit at UMOM’s Parsons Village a little over a year ago. But the stability of a safe place to call home gave Jessie the chance to focus on the things to help her move forward. It began with the self-worth Jessie felt as soon as she got the keys to her own apartment. That hope and confidence helped her take the leap to even pursue her GED.
And with the support from UMOM staff—whether it was providing bus passes or helping navigate healthcare costs—Jessie could once again begin visiting the three specialists crucial to her care after a stroke in 2013. The impact is already clear: she says she doesn’t need to use her cane nearly as often.
Tina kept excelling in school, balancing classes with cheer leading and dance. Jessie and Tina bonded over helping each other with trigonometry homework.
Now Jessie is preparing to attend a job fair specifically for people with disabilities like herself. She’s ready to work again and no longer depend on her daughter and others for help. That celebration on May 25th, surrounded by “Happy Graduation” balloons and loved ones, was the first step to a bright and independent future.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is organizing a National Week of Housing Action from July 22-29 to call attention to those struggling to make enough money to have a place to call home. Read more about UMOM’s housing efforts here, and make a gift to support a family’s dream of permanent housing here.