We first met Amy in 2010. We’ve seen her on and off since then. A few weeks ago, Amy confided to the Assistant Principal of her child’s school about her financial hardships. It was at this time, Amy was referred to the Upstate Family Resource Center. She was behind on her power bill and soon to be evicted. We had to work fast to make a recommendation or come up with a solution.
Amy has three children the eldest is 6 years old, then an 18 month old child, and a 4 week old infant. Amy has a job at a local restaurant making about $3.15 an hour plus tips so she brings home about $100 – $150 per week. Her rent is $100 a week. Her husband was recently incarcerated and he will probably not be released for two years. In addition to her immediate needs, Amy needs her GED which would lead her to a better paying job. Amy does have some assets: she has stable child care, transportation and a willing attitude to do what it takes.
According to a recent study by the United Way Association of SC and The Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington School of Social Work, Amy needs to make over $25 an hour (the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Spartanburg County) just to make ends meet and to save $174 a month.
Amy’s needs were so overwhelming, it would have been easy just to help with the minimum, wish her well and send her on her way, but that is not what we do.
Working with other resources in the community we were able to get her power and rent current and secure eight weeks of rent. In return, Amy is working closely with a coach who meets with her weekly. This coach worked one on one with Amy to initially set goals she needs to achieve. These goals include weekly monitoring of her income and spending, preparing for and looking for a better paying job and enrolling in GED.
Amy is an example of success in the making and someone moving on to the path of self-sufficiency.
*Please note, as a general rule, the UFRC and its programs do not assist with rent. “Amy” has a willingness to meet with her coach at least once a week, make changes in her lifestyle and work hard to achieve her goals. Amy must continue to participate in our Strive to Thrive Program to receive the support that has been set aside for her. Amy has a long journey ahead of her, but with support and encouragement we know she will reach her goals.