Sofia’s family had recently been evicted from their apartment and were now staying at a walk-in homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix. It was a few weeks into her stay at the shelter that she found the miracle she had been looking for. A shelter staff person told her about A New Leaf and a life-saving program called Rapid Rehousing. She cried from relief when she heard what this unique program could offer her and her children.”
The grocery check-out line stretched haphazardly down the aisle, spilling anxious shoppers unevenly through rows of Tide detergent, cleaning supplies and air freshener. Pregnant with her fourth child, Sofia, was a bundle of nerves as she waited in the long line. Her three young children were tired and overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the grocery store. Four-year John was jumping in place while three-year old David pulled at his mommy’s sleeve. “I want to go home, mommy!” he exclaimed. Sofia took turns calming her crying one-year-old daughter Sofia and eyeing the line ahead with rising panic.
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, she quickly paid for the groceries and hustled the children out of the store, struggling to carry the groceries in both arms while pulling the baby stroller. She spied the bus stop around the bend of the road and bit her tongue, remembering that she no longer had a car and would have to shepherd the children to the bus stop and keep them quiet while they all waited to board. How was she going to manage the bags of groceries, her stroller, and three young children on the bus? She remembered her last visit to the store when a friendly shopper visited with her and offered her a ride to her home. Her eyes misted over as she felt appreciation for that kind Samaritan.
“Shopping was such a simple yet complicated thing,” said Sofia. “The little things that people take for granted are sometimes the most difficult for others who are struggling to get by.” Raising three young children was difficult for a single mom, especially with no child support from her ex-husband and no employment. Sofia had to resign her position from her previous employer because she needed child care after her sister had stopped baby-sitting her kids, and the daycare options were far beyond her budget. Unable to afford a car, she was trapped in a limbo of constant job searching and struggling to attend to daily errands with a meager income from her unemployment checks. And to make matters worse, her family had recently been evicted from their apartment and were now staying at a walk-in homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix.
“I was at such a low point,” Sofia recalls. “I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I cried myself to sleep at night and felt despair choking me until I couldn’t breathe. It was so bleak and agonizing for me during that time.”
But Sofia had to stay strong for her children. She loved her children deeply with the same fierce strength of gravity that pulls the tides to shore, eternal and unyielding. She would sacrifice anything for her children – and her family clung together with a determination to find some solution to their struggles.
It was a few weeks into her stay at the shelter that she found the miracle she had been looking for. A shelter staff person told her about A New Leaf and a life-saving program called Rapid Rehousing. She cried from relief when she heard what this unique program could offer her and her children.
The Rapid Rehousing Program is a valuable program of A New Leaf, helping Valley residents find permanent housing solutions in order to stabilize their often precarious situations. The program pays for rent and utilities for a period of time in order for program participants to find gainful employment and take steps to become self-sufficient. Participants must demonstrate the ability to manage rent obligations independently once financial assistance has ended.