From Living Room To Living Well

Number of Children… 3

Ended Homelessness… December 2015

Renting two rooms in a house in Orange County was hardly ideal for the Ruize family, but the inadequate living situation provided stability and safety for the family of five. However, when the owner lost the home, the family also lost theirs. For weeks Francesca, Don, and their three children crammed their lives into a friend’s living room. They felt the scarce amounts of privacy and space that they had come to cherish in their old home further diminish. Affording first and last month's rent, as well as deposit, for their own space seemed impossible.

The determined family connected with Project Hope Alliance and received the support they needed to regain stable housing and work toward financial stability. 

The Ruize family met weekly with one of our dedicated case managers to discuss their living situation and goals. Together, they developed an actionable plan to help lift the family out of homelessness. Through our Family Stability Program, we were able to move the Ruize family into safe and permanent housing in December 2015—just in time for the holidays.

Once the family was stably housed, we connected Francesca to SparkPoint, Orange County United Way's one-stop financial empowerment center offering coaching and resources, to assist her with managing her finances. Together, they have worked to slowly but surely improve her credit score. In fact, they eventually helped Francesca open up a secure credit card. 

In a strategic effort to empower the wife and mother of three, we introduced her to Children's Home Society, who helped finance childcare funds for the couple's young daughter. With this considerable expense covered, Francesca accrued more hours at work, thus more money to support her family.

Additionally, we stepped in to help Don, who resides in the U.S. on a work permit, pay for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fee so that the family would not fall behind on rent.

For the kids, we linked Raul, the couple's youngest son, to tutoring services through School on Wheels. Francesca excitedly shared that she has witnessed major improvements in her son's academics, notably in his writing skills.

Earlier this year, we helped supplement the cost of a graduation packet for Carlos, the couple's eldest son, to ensure his high school graduation included him wearing his cap and gown. The ceremony marked a momentous day for the proud family.

The Ruize's new landlord has expressed much content with the family, describing them as an upstanding, reliable household. 

We could not agree more, and we remain committed to walking alongside them on their journey to self-sufficiency, offering support and guidance every step of the way.