45, Homeless and a Full-Time Student
In the fall of 2015, Brook enrolled in Lifeline’s Supportive Housing Program which provides rental assistance, as well as case management support, to Lake County adults who are enrolled in an accredited educational institution.
Unlike most other Supportive Housing participants, Brook came to our agency from a homeless shelter in Lake County. Brook is a 45 year old single mother with two grown children and one grandchild. She was actively pursuing a career in the social work field by attending Youngstown State University full time. Over the last 13 years, Brook had faced several episodes of homelessness, dealt with chronic health problems and escaped an abusive relationship.
Due to her health concerns, Brook was financially struggling to support herself and her daughter on her financial aid. An error in Brook’s financial aid caused Brook and her daughter became homeless during the first semester of Brook’s final year of college. Brook remained determined to continue pursuing her educational goals.
“Giving up and giving in were not options,” said Brook. “My driving force was my two daughters. It was my determination to make sure that my girls saw me succeed in my goals and responsibilities to them, to myself and to my community.”
She applied for the Supportive Housing program and was immediately enrolled.
“I saw such dedication to her schooling and a motivation to create a better life for herself and her family,” said Lifeline Program Coordinator & Brook’s case manager, Angela Wrana. “Even during her personal struggles, Brook was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA.”
With both the financial assistance, as well as the support of case management that the Supportive Housing Program offers, Brook was able to get her and her daughter established in a two bedroom apartment and regain a sense of stability in her life.
“This journey was not without trials,” said Brook. “My health was not great and I had to battle every day not to quit, give up or give into my chronic pain, poor sleep and fear of failure. I had to stay on top of school obligations, financial obligations and caring for my family, all of which were huge obstacles for me due to my health.”
In May 2016, Brook graduated from Youngstown State University with her BSW and a 3.81 GPA, and immediately obtained employment as a social worker in a long term care facility. Brook was also accepted into the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and will begin pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work with the hopes of graduating in the summer of 2017. “It is because of Lifeline and their Supportive Housing Program that I was able to complete my last semester of education in a safe and stable home with my daughter,” said Brook.
“I was able to focus on class work, my internship and preparing for my licensure exam. Lifeline gave me that extra support and direction to help me stay the course in my academic career, to realize my dream of completing my degree, and allowing my girls to see that if you never give up and you seek the help of others, success is always an option.”