Two years ago, Melissa showed up at our Crisis Intervention Program early one morning – battered and afraid – seeking refuge from her abusive husband. Like any mom, Melissa wanted a safe and happier life for her daughters Maya, aged four, and Sydney, who was only six months old.

We helped Melissa get into a domestic violence shelter, and she soon found secretarial work after completing our First Step Job Training Program. Melissa’s life truly seemed to be turning around when she moved into a modest apartment by combining her salary with a City subsidy program called “Work Advantage.”

But after just a year and a half on “Work Advantage,” Melissa’s lost her subsidy when the Bloomberg Administration abruptly terminated the program. Her wages from work were simply not enough to make ends meet and once again Melissa feared that she, Maya and Sydney – who had already suffered so much – would lose their home.

She tried to find a higher paying position while her landlord agreed to hold off evicting her, but even with the economy improving she found herself competing with recent college graduates and people with far more experience than she.

Then the worst happened. An eviction notice.

Once again she returned to the Coalition’s Crisis Intervention Program. She said, “I never thought I’d find myself here again.” Our caring case managers assured her that if she could find a cheaper apartment, we could help out with the security deposit and first month’s rent. Melissa sprung into action and after pounding the pavement after work each day, within weeks she and the girls were settled into a home of their own.

Melissa’s expression of gratitude for the help her family received put it best:

“You guys were there when my life was falling apart and again when I thought for sure I’d wind up back in the shelters. Thank you SO much!”

Again and again, day in and day out, we are humbled by the courage of Melissa and so many other families.

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