Davon and Regina have always worked to provide for themselves and their 3 sons, but minimum wage only goes so far for a family of 5 in the Baltimore area. In fact, in Maryland a person earning minimum wage would need to work 137 hours per week, or 3.4 full-time jobs, in order to afford a two-bedroom unit at fair market rent, not to mention all of the other bills to pay. Many families like Davon and Regina’s make tough choices of how to allocate their income, whether on rent, day care, food, and other bills and necessities.
One of the things that has allowed them to get by financially was being able to send their sons to St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s Head Start program. Head Start helped obtain speech therapy for one of their sons, and resources for another son struggling with ADHD. “Head Start really helped my sons be ready for school, and they worked with me to be a part of my boys’ educations,” Regina said.
“I had to explain to my oldest son why we were not able to go home.”
But the support didn’t stop there.
After being evicted from their home that they lived in for 14 years, the family moved four times in the past few years due to financial struggles, or uninhabitable living conditions. Most recently, they lost their apartment and all of their possessions in a tragic fire that resulted in them becoming instantly homeless. They turned to a shelter for a short time to figure out what they were going to do next. “I got so depressed and cried a lot. I was at a low point when I had to explain to my oldest son why we were not able to go home,” Regina said.
Their family service coordinator at Head Start immediately stepped in to help and began to reach out for resources and connected the family with our Front Door Program. To provide stability and reduce the negative impact of the situation, the program immediately placed the family in a hotel for 30 days, paid their outstanding BGE bills, helped locate a house, and paid the security deposit, and half of the rent for six months. This allowed the family to save to purchase needed items for their new home. Head Start continues to provide the family with clothing, books, food, furniture, and support.
Even throughout their moves and the tragedy they endured, the boys continued to have good attendance at Head Start, even traveling across town, in bad weather, spending hours on public transportation, to get there. “I prayed and prayed that everything would work out,” Regina recalled. “But the boys bounced back pretty quickly through it all and I am so very grateful to Head Start for what they have done for us.”