After her rent nearly doubled unexpectedly, Juana had only thirty days to agree to the outrageous increase or she and her three daughters would be evicted. Through Together Rising, you sent Juana a direct grant that “changed the trajectory of [her] life.”
Juana lives in Georgia with her girls, Asia, Victoria, and Jaleah. As a single mom, the responsibility of raising her daughters falls solely on her shoulders.
This past summer, the apartment building in the neighborhood that Juana and her daughters have called home for more than five years was purchased by a Florida-based investment company. New ownership made the building ineligible for Georgia’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps families who are low-income afford rent. On top of that, Juana was given a mere thirty days notice that her rent would be increasing astronomically, nearly doubling from the prior rate.
Despite her working two physically demanding jobs, the roles pay too little for Juana to afford the increase. Her family was already living paycheck to paycheck.
We cannot share Juana’s story without acknowledging this country’s long history and present day implementation of racist practices that have prevented Black families from building wealth, including but not limited to chattel slavery, the Tulsa Race massacre, GI bill exclusion, segregation, redlining, income disparities, blatant housing and hiring discrimination, gentrification, mass incarceration, and so much more. According to the latest available data from the Brookings Institute, the median racial wealth gap between Black and white adults ages 50 and above is a staggering $251,000. It is virtually impossible to get ahead financially when hundreds of years of systems and policies were intentionally designed to keep you from doing so.
We honor what an amazing example Juana is setting for her girls. We honor the light that she so beautifully adds to this world. She cares deeply about her community. As an advocate for herself and her neighbors, Juana has fought to raise public awareness about the housing crisis and how it impacts families like hers.
For Juana’s family, the stress of potentially losing their home was debilitating. It was especially distressing for one of her daughters, who sought therapy due to her rising anxiety. In addition to the massive psychological toll, moving would potentially mean switching school districts. One of Juana’s daughters was set to finish high school in May—staying in their home and school district was critical to her graduating on time.
When we heard Juana’s story, Together Rising covered the remaining amount Juana needed—keeping her and her girls in their home for an entire year.
“[The grant] was so instrumental in helping us to not lose our home, so we did not end up being homeless . . . it allowed me to get some sleep at night during a very, very stressful time,” said Juana when describing what the grant meant to her.
Now Juana and her girls can stay in their home, and Juana’s daughter can graduate. As Juana shared, your investment in her “changed the trajectory of [her life].”
Thank you for keeping Juana and her girls in their home. Thank you for continuing to place your trust in us so we can step into the gap for families like Juana’s. From all of us here at Together Rising, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.