Shanika’s Story

Shanika is a single mother of 3 children. With a goal of home ownership, she joined Habitat for Humanity’s “Pathways” Program to become financially eligible to join their Home Ownership program. Nominated by Habitat, she was accepted into the United Way’s Family Improvement Program in the fall of 2019, and created an action plan that included steps to achieve home ownership.

The United Way’s Family Investment Program works to help families reduce debt, set aside savings, and work towards financial stability. We support qualified families with personalized work plans to achieve and maintain financial stability. Nominations are reviewed, and approved recipients receive financial resources, financial coaching, and mentorship in order to reduce debt, set aside savings, and make progress on their individualized plans to reach financial independence.

As part of her action plan, to save money towards home ownership, Shanika gave up her apartment, and with her children moved in with her mother in late 2019.

In late April 2020, four of Shanika’s uncles got COVID-19, and one died. Shanika contracted COVID and was hospitalized. She knew that her mother and children were quarantined at their home, in a dire situation: her mother was one month behind in her electric bill, and, due to quarantine, had no way to get groceries. Afraid for them, she refused to be put on a ventilator. United Way paid her electric bill with extra towards the next month, and provided grocery money. Volunteers from Carter Myers Associates shopped for groceries and delivered them to her mother and children. Shanika then agreed to go on ventilator, which saved her life.

In June, Shanika recovered and was sent home. She returned to work quickly, but experienced severe side effects from COVID and was laid off for 8 weeks.

In August, Shanika was able to return to work, but her vehicle, borrowed and unreliable, would no longer go in reverse.  Shanika worked with the United Way to use funds from her action plan and COVID assistance, and United Way worked with Carter Myers Automotive to assist her in purchasing a reliable used vehicle.

In late August 2020, Shanika dropped her oldest child off at college. And, as of September 2020, Shanika has met all of the requirements to purchase her Habitat home , and is ready and eager to put in the necessary sweat equity.

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