“It’s very hard for me to ask for help. I’ve always been one to help others,” Desiree Ruiz, a recent Primavera participant, told us. Until last year, Desiree was a single working mother with a full-time job. But one month after giving birth to her second daughter, she was laid off from work and she found herself in a difficult position. “I didn’t see it coming,” she said. “I had some savings, but not enough to get me by.”
Desiree found herself unemployed and living in a 500-square-foot apartment with a school-aged daughter and a newborn. The apartment, infested with rats and roaches, was unsanitary for her small family – especially the newborn. She was desperate and overwhelmed.
Finally, she reached out for help in the community. The Primavera Foundation received her referral from the County and she was contacted by Evelyn Yecies, a Resource Specialist with Primavera’s Rapid Rehousing Program.
“To be honest, I had started to get really depressed. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “Instantly when I got connected with Primavera, and having a one-on-one with Evelyn, I was able to start to see who I am again and it gave me the motivation to pull forward.”
With help from our Rapid Rehousing team, Desiree got back on her feet. She was able to move into a new apartment and she received diapers, food boxes, and financial assistance through the program’s referral to community resources. She also set up child care through DES. With a safe, stable home, child care, and a regained sense of confidence, Desiree started a new job earlier this year and feels positive about her future.
Asking for help reminded Desiree of the importance of connection. “I haven’t been that close with my family, but after reaching out to Primavera, I was able to get back into contact with my family and see that I’m not alone,” she said. For the first time since becoming a mom, she is planning to host Thanksgiving dinner in her new apartment for her family.
“We are a village, and you guys are our village. Thank you so much.”