Catholic Charities’ Emergency Assistance Program was there when Sheyla, a 30-year-old single mother of two boys from Woodbridge, needed help.
Sheyla (not her real name) was facing a financial crisis. She had been juggling the bills – rent, utilities, food, gas, car payment, car insurance, and student loan and credit card debt.
Sheyla’s situation got worse when she had to decide to either pay her car payment, or pay her rent. She decided to pay her car payment: she had to have her car to get to her job. But the decision came with a high price for her family. She was taken to court over the overdue rent, and needed to pay her late rent, late fees and court fees. She had been making partial payments, but it seemed she was never going to clear her rent balance and start fresh!
Certified as a medical assistant, she was working full time at a doctor’s office, making $17 an hour – but it wasn’t enough to pay the bills.
Thankfully, Sheyla got in contact with Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Program, and we were able to provide the last $500 she needed to pay her late rent and fees.
Catholic Charities offers aid to people facing evictions, utilities cutoff notices, and other emergency expenses. Learn more and see the requirements.
“We are here to help people in a crisis,” says emergency assistance senior case coordinator Ruth Guillen, “Most of the people we help, we help stay in their homes.”
Now the threat of eviction was gone.
But our help didn’t end there. Sheyla also received a $25 gas card, a brand new backpack for her 8- year old son, and enough food to feed her family for a week.
Then we sat down with Sheyla and offered her budgeting assistance. Looking over her income and expenses we and she could see the problem: Sheyla was paying 65 % of her income for monthly rent of $1,450, leaving little to pay her remaining expenses. We counseled her in how to improve her financial situation. She is now looking for a part-time position or, better yet, a better paying job.
“She gave me more encouragement at a time when I wanted to give up,” Sheyla said of her case coordinator.
“It’s very pleasant to be able to get assistance and not be judged by whomever is interviewing. Mrs. Guillen was very nice and I enjoyed speaking with her in regards to my finances.”
To learn more about our Emergency Assistance Program, visit our website here.