Working Together to Create Stability
Nick* and Brenda* were both working hard to care for their boys but just making ends meet. Nick worked in food service and hoped to someday have a restaurant of his own. Brenda worked full time in retail. They were thankful that Brenda’s mom could care for Charlie and Ben until Brenda got home each evening. The family would have liked to move to a larger apartment but they were already paying almost half their income in rent. By the end of the month, there wasn’t much left in the refrigerator or pantry.
Then Brenda’s mom suddenly became ill. Brenda had to quit her job to stay home and care for the kids. With almost no savings, money was running out fast and the family wasn’t going to make next month’s rent. That’s when Nick learned about MOM from one of his coworkers.
MOM was able to provide Brenda and Nick with a small rent assistance grant. MOM’s case manager advocated for the family with the landlord, and then helped them look for additional ways they could reduce their budget. She also talked with them about other supportive services in the community and assured them they would have all the food they needed from MOM’s Food Pantry for as long as they needed it. Brenda’s mom has since recuperated and is back doing the job she loves—caring for Ben and Charlie.
Brenda is working to find a job that brings in more income and has sick leave, and is trying to plan for a time when her mom might not be able to assist. They continue to enjoy fresh, nourishing food from MOM’s Food Pantry and clothing for the always-growing boys and themselves, while they get back on track.
The need for MOM’s services continues to grow, especially in our Housing Stability program. An important contributing factor is the lack of affordable rental housing in our community. Nearly a quarter of Dane County's 86,000 renter households are paying more than half of their income on rent. Only 5 percent of rental units in Dane County are considered affordable for low-income households. An affordable two-bedroom apartment should cost $638. In Madison, for every unit in this price range, there are almost three households in need of such a unit. Racial disparities in income contribute to higher rates of housing-related hardship among African Americans. (See the Poverty Fact Sheet: Rental Housing Affordability in Dane County for more information.)
MOM’s programs cannot solve the affordable housing problem. But providing rent assistance, advocacy, and access to nutritious food when a client is facing eviction is critical to allowing our neighbors to make it through a crisis situation.
Thank you for your support that makes it possible for us to help families like Brenda and Charlie’s remain in stable housing and enjoy nutritious foods.
*Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.
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