My name is Olivia.
I am a mother to three beautiful children. Two 8-year olds – Serenity and Trinity, and one six-year old, Wisdom. We relocated to Florida in April 2019 with hopes of staying with family so we can save money and find a place to live. Before relocating we were homeless in New York for about a year. However, my family decided they wanted to go to Disney World for the spring and my children’s grandfather was very unhappy that we were living in a shelter. So, he invited us down at the same time. I packed up everything that we needed, I shipped it here to Florida and bought three one-way tickets to Orlando Florida.
Now fast-forward to the end of July/beginning of August during the summer of 2019. At that time, my children and I were living with their grandparents in a one-bedroom apartment with six of us sharing one bathroom, one living area, and one kitchen. It got entirely too tight, and one day my children’s grandfather and wife kicked us out. We were then left on the streets to fend for ourselves. I was going to just pack up everything again and run back home where it was safe to New York with my family, but I stayed, and I fought. I did not want to go back nor did I want to take my children back to that. So, for 7 months we would continue to bounce from my co-worker’s house to customers’ houses. We stayed at 5 different houses during our time of homelessness but, within that 7 months my godfather, a well-known Pastor in the Tampa, Florida area, introduced me to a pair of wonderful people who had a daughter that worked for a place called Eckerd Connects. When she heard about me and my situation, Mrs. Karen Brown at Eckerd Connects got started on finding me a caseworker right away. Shortly after that, I was introduced to Diana who, for months, worked with me, encouraged me, helped me to prioritize and save money so that I could get a place to live.
I can take care of my kids because of the help I received from Eckerd Connects.
The program helped me in ways that I didn’t think that I could be helped. I just did not think it was possible. At the shelter that I stayed at in N.Y. I had to constantly search for an apartment that I was never going to be able to afford and the state wasn’t even giving me enough money to be able to afford one. I wasn’t allowed to pay out-of-pocket. So, to come here and to be put on a program that actively helps me find a job, give me clothes and shoes so my kids can have something to wear, actively helps me to find a place, that is literally there for me helping me to organize and prioritize – I was in complete awe and full of gratitude. Miss Diana did that for me. After I found a place at Greater Heights, she immediately got started on helping me to get in there and did not stop pushing me until finally February 2020 we got our keys to our new place. We were so elated, so grateful and so joyful. Those feelings continued even during a pandemic and that’s because during the pandemic Eckerd Connects paid for everything. I did not have to pay a dime for rent or utilities for 5 months! They took care of me for five whole months and I only had to pay for one month, which I could do now on my own! I cannot express how grateful I am to Diana, Karen and Eckerd Connects for all the help and the support that they had given me. I will forever be grateful because now I am able to have my very first apartment, my children are able to have their own rooms, something that they have never had the privilege of having before. Our privacy, space and own rules. I can take care of my kids because of the help I received from Eckerd Connects. My family and I are forever grateful.
Many blessings to you,
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