by: Erica Bryant Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Daira Arriola's 2-year-old son, Jaden, is the light of her life.
Things are going well now, but when he was a baby, they were homeless.
“I was young and I was scared and I didn't know what to do,” Arriola said.
Arriola was just 19 spending night after night with friends until Charlotte Family Housing helped her pay for an apartment.
“Just being there with my son for the first time. It was a wonderful experience,” Arriola said. “They were able to guide me and I’m able to support myself now.”
Stephen Smith, executive director of Charlotte Family Housing, said 91 percent of those helped by the agency manage to stay in permanent housing after leaving the program and become self-sufficient.
“About 30 percent of their income goes to housing and we'll help supplement the difference. For us the win is when they are able to do that without any supplement,” Smith said.
The CFH staff helps clients with financial planning, childcare options and finding jobs.
It’s services desperately needed to address a growing problem.
Arriola is grateful that for her and her son, housing is no longer an issue.
She has a good job, plans to pursue college and a career in the medical field.
“That's what I’m working for and in next 5 years work to having my own business and owning my own home,” Arriola said.
She hopes her story inspires others in need not to be ashamed of speaking out.
“To understand that they shouldn't feel alone. That they have support and they can go out and get that help,” she said.
There's no place like home, so to support efforts to end family homelessness, Charlotte Family Housing is inviting the entire community to attend its Yellow Brick Road Event on Sunday.
For more information on the event, click here.