While homelessness may seem like the singular issue of a lack of shelter, it can often set off a chain reaction that leads to other hardships in a person’s life.

Central Maryland resident Clarisse was sharing an apartment and the cost of rent with her mother to make their low incomes stretch further. But, when her mother became ill, she could no longer contribute to the housing costs — and Clarisse, her young son, and her mother were forced out of their apartment.

From there, a chain reaction began. While they were able to find a homeless shelter that could accept the family without splitting them up, it produced an unexpected challenge: The homeless shelter was so far away from Clarisse’s workplace that she was forced to cut her hours. And because she was earning less, she couldn’t afford to get her family out of the shelter and into stable housing.

Clarisse found a solution in United Way’s rapid rehousing program, which works to ensure that families who have lost their homes find new, affordable housing quickly and minimize their time in shelters. The program helped Clarisse’s family move into an affordable, two-bedroom apartment located much closer to Clarisse’s job, allowing her to work more consistent hours.

Now, Clarisse is working closely with a United Way of Central Maryland case manager to improve her budgeting skills, track and pay bills more efficiently, and open a bank account — all to further guarantee her family’s financial stability and prevent any future chain reaction.

Other stories

Owen’s Story
Cherice’s Story
Victoria’s Story
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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

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