From Doubling Up To Independence



Single mother Nicole Thompson worked full-time to support herself and two daughters—ages 16 and 3—managing her teenage daughter's medical condition while struggling with homelessness in Orange County. Despite full-time employment, Nicole's income did not meet rental approval requirements. Thankfully, Project Hope Alliance stepped in and walked beside the family, uplifting them out of homelessness and into a new home and new life.

With a $15 hourly income and zero child support, Nicole and her daughters doubled up with her mother for several years.

Medical disorders, kidnapping, and abuse dot the family's trying past, yet Nicole and her two daughters remain sweet, resilient, and hard-working. The father of Nicole's oldest daughter Deidre suffers from schizophrenia, and his abuse toward Nicole resulted in complete estrangement more than a decade ago. With a $15 hourly income and zero child support, Nicole and her daughters doubled up with her mother for several years. During the last year, Deidre's undiagnosed medical condition caused significant educational setbacks.

Nicole reached out to Project Hope Alliance for help, and has since built a fresh start for her family.

Case Manager Chrissie met with the Thompsons to discuss their situation and develop a plan. Through our Family Stability Program, Project Hope Alliance covered first month's rent and deposit to rapidly rehouse the family into an affordable housing apartment. We continued to subsidize their rent for the first four months to empower Nicole to furnish her home, and also provided food, hygiene products, and back-to-school items. Chrissie worked with Nicole on budgeting and saving tips, as well as referred her to SparkPoint, a financial education center that aids in monetary management.

Safe in their new home, Nicole's daughters felt much happier with more space and privacy. Focusing on Deidre's education, we connected her with a dedicated School on Wheels tutor to help strengthen her math and reading skills. Her medical condition, consisting of seizures and blackouts, caused her to miss several weeks of school in 2014, resulting in homeschooling for the teen. In the fall of 2015, she enrolled in an independent school to fast-track her academic progress and fill her schooling gap. Her medical condition has improved since her initial episodes.

After the family's first major turning point—ending homelessness—a second turning point came when Deidre participated in UCI's Expressive Robotics program. "It provided her with a cool experience and made her realize that she would like to do something in the technology field in the future," says Chrissie, adding, "She is even more motivated to go to college." Deidre's tutor continues to serve as her mentor, offering college guidance and support.

Since ending homelessness, Nicole received a promotion at work, increasing the family's income. In addition to a boost in financial stability, the family has also achieved enriched self-confidence and emotional health. Project Hope Alliance will continue to walk beside them, every step of the way.