Creating Second Chances

Family Centers Blog

Raised in a household with addiction and trauma, it would seem unlikely that Shatara Carpenter could lead a successful life. And, for a long while, she didn’t. Shatara faced many challenges in life and eventually became homeless. “Everything fell apart all at once,” she said. “I lost my housing and because of my record I couldn’t find a place for me and my two daughters to live. I took my girls to my mother’s house and I slept in cars, on the train—it was horrible. I did a good job of hiding it by keeping up my appearance, but I was so depressed and sad; I wanted more for my life and for my kids.”

When dropping off her daughter at John A. Johnson Elementary School, she learned about the Family Center that’s housed there. She connected with the staff immediately and they were so down-to-earth she felt she could tell them anything. And, she did. She was accepted into the Housing Trust Fund rental assistance program and has been taking steps to shed her past and walk into her future with limitless potential.

Because of the loving encouragement she received from staff, she feels supported for the first time in her life. “The staff there help me with everything, and I mean everything. If I need a referral, they get one for me. They advocate for me really hard and I know they’ve got my back. They got me.”

“They’ve told me that I have talent. That I don’t have to do risky things to take care of my kids. That I don’t have to worry anymore. That I’m going to be all right. I may have messed up before, but I feel like this program is giving me a second chance.”