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Finding the financial breathing room to heal and grow

Updated: Apr 30

For “Ellie” — and for many FamilyForward participants — the benefits of our program were more than just financial.

Woman in FamilyForward program looking hopeful thanks to financial breathing room gained
Stock photo

“Ellie” had recently become a single mom when she entered the FamilyForward program. With housing in flux, decreased income during the pandemic, and a challenging child-custody schedule, Ellie’s life was in upheaval. When she entered our program, Ellie had less than $500 in the bank and debt totaling more than $20,000. She also had some serious health problems that she had left untreated for years, due to long-term stress in her life.


Getting housing and finances in order

The FamilyForward rent subsidy allowed Ellie to catch up on bills and chip away at her debt. As pandemic restrictions began to decrease, resulting in fewer shutdowns, Ellie was able to increase her hours at work and grow her hourly wage. With stable housing and regular coaching visits from her volunteer mentors, Ellie’s life was no longer in turmoil. Two years after she started at FamilyForward, Ellie now earns more, has paid down a significant amount of debt, and has brought up her credit score by more than 300 points.


Escaping survival mode leads to healing

Financial breathing room is important

For Ellie — and for many FamilyForward participants — the benefits of our program were more than just financial. Because she had some financial breathing room, and because she knew her housing was stable, Ellie started to address some of her ongoing health concerns.

For years before beginning our program, Ellie had been putting off dealing with her health problems. She was living with chronic pain and spending money on symptom management instead of treatment or a cure. Simply put, she had been existing in survival mode. Once in our program, Ellie felt empowered to find the right specialists, undergo needed medical procedures, and finally receive much-needed treatment. Ellie’s volunteer mentors encouraged her to address her own health, because financial stability depends on the wellness of the parent, inside and out.

Ellie’s story is an example of “success” that cannot be quantified. With monthly rent support from FamilyForward and encouragement from her mentors, Ellie gave herself permission to finally get her own health under control. Now that she is pain-free, Ellie is a better parent and a better worker.

As with so many FamilyForward participants, the most meaningful part of the experience for Ellie was not about money — it was about relationships, and the support and respect she received. In her final review, Ellie wrote: “I have experienced tremendous personal growth. I was treated as a smart, capable mom.” Ellie’s mentors provided the encouragement she needed to heal and grow, making a difference in her life for years to come.


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