"I was an adult before my time:" Tiana's Story 

I know something about what it means to help — I’ve been helping other people for most of my life. My mother was a strong woman, working full-time while raising four kids. She also suffered from a long, debilitating illness. Part of the reason I left school and opted to get my GED at 15 was to take care of her. Mom passed away when I was 17, leaving me and my three younger siblings to live with my aunt.  On my 21st birthday, my aunt died, and — barely an adult myself — I was suddenly the legal guardian for my sister and two brothers. Four years later, my daughter was born. 

I kept my family together, but it was hard with so many responsibilities. I worked as much as I could, but my rent kept going up, and it became impossible for me to afford our apartment. I was preparing for the possibility that my family would end up in shelter when someone told me about FamilyAid Boston’s Rapid Re-housing program, which places families like mine in housing while helping them build the skills and resources they need to live independently.

FamilyAid Boston placed my family in an apartment with short-term rental assistance, giving us the stability we needed to begin to build our future. My caseworkers listened to my frustrations, pushed me when I needed to be pushed, and ultimately helped me figure out my passion in life and how to turn it into a sustainable income for my family. 

Today, I am living in an apartment with my family and paying my own rent. My younger sister just graduated from college, and I am working for a nonprofit, helping low-income parents to develop parenting skills and navigate the resources available to them. I am planning to go back to school for sociology within the next year, and I hope to eventually earn a Master’s Degree that will allow me to have an even bigger impact on people who are struggling to get by in Boston.

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