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“I became homeless when I decided I was tired of being in an abusive relationship.”

Even when working full time, having enough money available for first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit is often a major barrier to find stable housing. Peoples first learned about Family Empowerment Program when someone from the Homeless Education Resources Outreach (HERO) program (which identifies Metropolitan Nashville Public School students and their families who are homeless) referred her. It has made all the difference for her and her daughters, enabling them to also remain in the same school zone.

The Family Empowerment Program is operated in partnership by United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Catholic Charities of Tennessee and Safe Haven Family Shelter in order to move families from homelessness into permanent, stable housing, as well as work on ways to increase their income and manage their finances. The program has helped more than 175 families to date.

The two-generational case management program was ideal for Peoples because it helped her set goals around finding stable housing for herself and her children. A housing specialist works with landlords who are willing to accept housing vouchers from their tenants. Case Managers also work with families for a period of up to 24 months to address additional needs and ensure clients have the resources and tools needed for long-term success.

“One of my biggest challenges was the lack of a safety net,” said Peoples. “Even though I work full-time, it was hard for me to come up with money for a security deposit.”

Peoples simply didn’t have the savings.

With the support and encouragement of her case manager, Peoples was able to get a higher paying job. Even just a few dollars more per paycheck went a long way to helping her reach her goals.

“When I first met my case manager, we sat down and went over my employment, salary history, and she addressed any additional issues that would keep me from getting my own place.”

Her case manager found a landlord willing to help and was able to secure her a stable place to live.

Peoples is no longer dreaming about what life might be like living in a place of her own. She can rest easier because she now has a safe place to raise her children.