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Stability and Help ‘To Get on Your Feet’

Eleanor can’t imagine what her life would be like if she had not received rental assistance from the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) beginning in 2012 and the help and support of the SDHC Achievement Academy.

“I wish that every single person that needs help would take advantage of the Achievement Academy. Because Section 8 could help you with your rent, but to help you get on your feet, to help you get a job, to help you make a resume, just that support – people like us need that,” Eleanor said. “It’s a very great program all the way around. I’m very grateful for them.”

When Eleanor served time in jail, her three children – all younger than 6 at the time – were put in foster care. When she regained her freedom after nine months in custody, she lived in a sober living facility. She took classes about parenting and domestic violence and, in two years, regained custody of her children. Having a place to live with rental assistance from SDHC’s Family Unification Program gave Eleanor the stability she needed to continue turning her life around.

With her criminal record nearly expunged, Eleanor earned a Certified Nursing Assistant license through the Bridges to Career Opportunities program. She also completed the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. Both are SDHC Achievement Academy programs.

Through FSS, she received help with job development and establishing good credit. She also earned money for educational and employment-related goals she accomplished. The money was held in an interest-bearing escrow account until she graduated from the FSS program.

Her recovery from a February 2021 accident in which she was rear-ended prevents her from working as a nursing assistant. However, Eleanor is moving forward, launching a taco catering company with her boyfriend. They are considering using the FSS funds she earned toward buy a home.

“I have been waiting years and years to be able to say, ‘I don’t have anything on my record, I’m good.’ I’m not going to be judged. It means a lot. And I get to show my kids, look, you can do it. Don’t ever think that if you fall you can’t get back up,” she said.

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