Rescuing Dana from Pandemic Poverty

Jul 20, 2021

COVID-19 sent Dana into a downward spiral. First her hours working as a closing expert at Target were cut, meaning less income for her and her husband, who works for the Chicago Public Schools. Her smaller paycheck brought on financial concerns, as her family – which also includes their 6-year-old daughter, Arya – got behind on rent and utility payments. Those worries triggered depression.

“I was worried for a while I was so down,” Dana said, looking back on that challenging time. “Financially, it’s been rough. First and foremost, we were worried about keeping a roof over our heads. Landlords aren’t always understanding. After a while, we were on the verge of homelessness.”

When she went to The Salvation Army Norridge Citadel for help, they covered a month of their back rent. “That was very unexpected and helped tremendously,” Dana said. When they followed up with another month’s rent and money toward their gas bill, she said, “I couldn’t believe it.”

But the biggest help came when a staff member suggested Dana join our Pathway of Hope program, which offers individual case management to help struggling families become self-sufficient. “It literally saved my life,” Dana said.

Her case manager helped her qualify for a grant to go back to school to learn how to become a medical assistant. Dana hopes to eventually get a job in a doctor’s office, where she won’t have to work evenings and can spend more time at home with Arya.

“Pathway of Hope really turned everything around,” Dana said. “I’m a completely different person now. I’m self-sufficient. I’m taking care of my family. I’m happier.” She also belongs to a parenting group at the citadel and attends church there.

“I’m now hopeful, and so grateful,” Dana said, referring to the help she’s received from The Salvation Army. “It’s a lifeline, spiritually, physically, for everything. I truly don’t know where I’d be without it.”

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