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Stories of Impact › Finding Affordable Housing and a Promising Future

Finding Affordable Housing and a Promising Future

Absorbing Carbon on Marin's Rangelands
Tabitha Hurt—a young, single mother of a 20-month-old son—has been on a bumpy ride this past year.

In just a few months, she, her boyfriend, and son went from sharing an apartment with relatives to being homeless—“couch surfing” from one place to another—to living together in an apartment. She then moved out with her son to stay in a shelter and finally moved in to an affordable housing complex, where she's living now.

“My baby had a rocky first year,” Tabitha readily admits. “I lost my job. We became homeless. It was a real struggle.”

Tabitha first called Adopt A Family of Marin, at the suggestion of a friend of her mother, just before she and her family moved into their own apartment—and put an end to being homeless. The agency proivded part of the security deposit.

And when she ended up leaving her boyfriend, she went back, this time for both emotional and financial assistance. A referral to Family Service Agency of Marin enabled Tabitha to get counseling and, as she prepared to move from the Family Resource Center—transitional housing run by Homeward Bound of Marin—to Fireside, got help from Adopt A Family to pay the rent, since her unemployment payments had ended.

“These are relatively small ways of helping, but they can make all the difference in a critical situation,” says Pamela Meyer, executive director of Adopt A Family—one of several agencies in Marin that receive funding under the Foundation’s Strategic Initiative to make affordable housing available to more low-income residents.

Tabitha is still getting financial help from CalWorks, and a Federal Pell Grant is helping pay for her education at College of Marin, but overall, she reports, she feels her life has turned around, and she’s “still working at it.”

“I’m much happier than I was even a couple of months ago. I was emotionally in a bad place when I came here. Now there are more possibilities for me, and I’m excited about going back to school.”

It’s often said that stable housing is the underpinning of a more stable life, and Tabitha’s story is strong evidence of that.

First, she’s near other young families at Fireside with children her son's age, there’s a play area, and there are special activities for young children in the community center. “I was super excited when we moved in,” she says. “Finally it’s something that’s mine…something we can look forward to as our home.”

She’s excited about continuing her education at College of Marin, where she’s aiming to get an associate degree in business. She says that there are other single mothers at Fireside who are students, one of whom is studying to be a nurse. “It’s reassuring for me that she can do it, and that I know there’s someone else I can rely on and look up to.”

And, Tabitha’s in an environment where she can talk to other mothers about parenting—something she’s already gotten help with through counseling at Family Services Agency.

While she describes herself as “taking baby steps,” she already has an eye on working or volunteering with an agency like Adopt A Family, in order “to help people in the same situation as me.”

Tabitha’s new-found stability—and strength—may already have an impact on others. She recently was interviewed on camera for a presentation that will be made to members of the U.S. Congress on the need to fund affordable housing in Marin and elsewhere.

She’ll no doubt present a different picture of herself now than how she described herself not that long ago: “I was going down a dark tunnel. Things weren’t looking good. I’ve found a happier spot—to move on and grow.”

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"The more I work with the MCF, the more impressed I am by the Foundation's professionalism, commitment to mission, and dedication to donor charitable intentions. MCF is an exceptional resource to our charitable community and provides much needed stewardship of donor assets. I am always very pleased to be able to refer clients to them."

Julia Sze,
CFA, Senior Investment Strategist, Wells Fargo Family Wealth Group, Member of MCF's Investment Committee, and a Donor since 2006