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A Place to Call Home
Housing Stability
July 2, 2024

A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home

When Rafa*, 21, and his younger sister Gabriela, 19, came to WayForward, they were staying in an overcrowded apartment with a relative.

The siblings have lived in the United States for a couple of years while their parents remained in Mexico due to immigration issues. In the meantime, the environment they were living in became increasingly hostile and complicated. It did not feel like home.

A community member referred Rafa and Gabriela to WayForward’s Connections Program, which assists people in doubled-up living situations with finding and moving into homes of their own. With support from WayForward’s Connections bilingual case manager, the two young adults learned everything about the process of finding housing, including what to look for and potential costs. Within the first month, WayForward found an apartment that was perfect for them, both in price and location. They moved in over the summer and, after a long and complicated journey, they are motivated about the future and working hard on their next steps to be stable.

For Rafa and Gabriela, having a case manager who speaks their language and understands their culture meant the world as they navigated this major step to adulthood. They trust that their future is off to a great start and they don’t feel alone anymore. In the words of the community member who has kept in touch with the brother and sister over the last year: “You guys are changing lives.”

The pair were recently joined by a younger sibling who joined their household to finish high school. They recently shared their experience with their case manager.

How did the Connections program help you move into your own apartment?

The housing navigation along with the financial support that our family has received from the Connections/Wayforward program has helped us to move on from our vulnerable situation. Being a new renter and also a head of household at this young age it is hard to navigate the systems and also afford housing on our own in this market.

How has your life changed since you started working with WayForward?

There has been a positive change in our lives. Thanks to the support of WayForward and our caring case manager, they have made a huge impact on the well-being of me and my siblings. The most important being that we now have a place to call home. I am now even saving to get a car as my next goal.

What would you tell a friend or neighbor if they asked you to describe what it was like working with WayForward?

The hard work of the staff at WayForward makes a real difference. This is an experience where I have learned and felt supported. I would recommend for anyone in need to reach out since their work and support is exceptional.

*names and identifying details changed