In 2013, Monica lost her job and her apartment forcing her and her son JoJo into the streets. From hotels to abandoned apartments, they moved from place to place until they settled into a local shelter. Their stability was short-lived after three months and then, again, they had no where to go before finally receiving a family room at the Sulzbacher Center.
“For some reason, people think if you’re homeless or in that type of situation that you should look a certain way, dress a certain way, and carry yourself a certain way,” Monica stated. “There have been quite a few times where I’ve told people that I lived in a shelter and it was hard for them to believe.”
Monica took full advantage of counseling, parenting classes, and career exploration courses while living at the Center. One day, Monica’s case manager, Latonya Moore, shared some news that would open new doors for Monica and her son.The Sulzbacher Center, in partnership with First Coast Security, was offering a security course and license at no cost to its residents. Monica leaped at the chance to get back on her feet and successfully completed the security program.
With a new job, a new home was finally within sight. She pushed herself at work and saved every dollar she could to avoid using government assistance to secure an apartment. All of her hard work definitely paid off because on December 4th, Monica and JoJo had the keys to their new home.
“Wow! It was a great feeling sticking that key in the door and realizing where I was like a year ago,” Monica said remembering her first day in the apartment. “I worked so hard so I could have a really nice place to bring my son up in. It was really important because JoJo had already been through so much and I just wanted to put him in a good, safe environment.”
Today, Monica has been with First Coast Security for well over a year and she’s looking forward to working her way up the ladder. She fondly remembers her case manager as her biggest cheerleader and she continues to visit the staff at the Center on a regular basis.”Latonya would encourage me everyday, ‘You can do it. You can do it. You can do it,’ and I began to start believing it. And I did do it.”
We can help more mothers like Monica, but not without your help. One day of comprehensive services at the Sulzbacher Center is closely equivalent to $20. Help us raise #20kIn20Days by participating in the Sulzbacher#2020Challenge. You can donate online at gofundme.com/2020challenge, host a fundraiser among friends, family, or coworkers, of see what the Center is all about at our upcoming event, Transformations on October 15th. Visit our website at www.sulzbachercenter.org/transformations to download a full #2020Challenge toolkit and to purchase tickets to the event. Together we can help end homelessness one person at a time.