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Single Mother Achieves a ‘New Life’

Emerging from overwhelming debt to create a better life for herself and her daughter, Cristina now focuses on her goal of saving and someday owning a home.

A single mother who works as a caregiver, Cristina thanks the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) Achievement Academy for helping her achieve a “new life.”

“They taught me how to find a better job and how to work with my finances and be realistic with my finances,” she said. “I learned to have a little more confidence in myself. I learned how to do savings. I learned how to manage my bills and also put some money aside to enjoy life a bit. I am in a very better position than I was.”

Cristina began receiving Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance from SDHC in 2017.

It gave her the freedom to stop living with her parents and move into a place of her own with her daughter, who is now 11. Today, she lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Mission Valley.

She heard about the SDHC Achievement Academy when she was at a low point and feeling like she was “sinking” in debt.

“They really helped me clear everything and feel like I’m not going to sink all the way down,” Cristina said. “It’s a new life – it’s being able to breathe. I think I was holding my breath a lot.”

Cristina enrolled in the SDHC Achievement Academy’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program and was part of the second graduating class of Power of One, a program for single parents, in which she completed a match savings program.

The SDHC Achievement Academy helped improve her resume and interviewing skills and provided assistance to renew her nursing license.

She also attended a job recruitment fair and was able to land a better job as a caregiver.

“The most important thing I learned is that it takes time to get to a positive place, and there are people that are trying to help and more to uplift you instead of bring you down. So, there’s a lot of positive around,” Cristina said.

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