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Supportive Housing program case worker, Melissa (in white shirt) with her client Irma. Melissa has provided support to Irma for over two years.

Irma, age 24, left home at the age of nine after she and her brother suffered abuse at the hands of their step father. After several years in the care of foster homes and living homeless, Irma became pregnant at age 15. By the age of 23, Irma had lived through periods of homelessness and had become mother to four children with two different men, both of whom were abusive. Six months into her fourth pregnancy, Irma’s partner threw her down the stairs and she went into premature labour. Medical staff told Irma that she would miscarry but her youngest son, Julio survived after spending the first six months of his life in hospital. The sustained involvement of medical professionals in Irma’s life alerted the Supportive Housing program to her situation. Case worker Melissa began working with Irma, offering support, advice and providing the funds to purchase items for the care of baby Julio. Melissa made representations to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to vouch for Irma’s character and convince them that Irma should not be separated from her children. Melissa encouraged Irma to go back to school and complete her high school diploma.

Supportive Housing provided Irma a housing-voucher so that she could keep her children and live independently of her abusive partner. Irma now lives with her children who have rooms of their own and a back yard in which to play. Julio, now eighteen months, has significant health needs but the relative stability of Irma’s life now means she can look to the future with a sense of optimism. She hopes to complete her associates degree in nursing and eventually earn an income that will allow her to live in accommodation without the need of a subsidy from Supportive Housing. Irma still meets regularly with Melissa who continues to provide her support, in
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Tom Pietrasik
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HOUSING & THE WELFARE OF SINGLE MOTHERS
Supportive Housing program case worker, Melissa (in white shirt) with her client Irma. Melissa has provided support to Irma for over two years. <br />
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Irma, age 24, left home at the age of nine after she and her brother suffered abuse at the hands of their step father. After several years in the care of foster homes and living homeless, Irma became pregnant at age 15. By the age of 23, Irma had lived through periods of homelessness and had become mother to four children with two different men, both of whom were abusive. Six months into her fourth pregnancy, Irma’s partner threw her down the stairs and she went into premature labour. Medical staff told Irma that she would miscarry but her youngest son, Julio survived after spending the first six months of his life in hospital. The sustained involvement of medical professionals in Irma’s life alerted the Supportive Housing program to her situation. Case worker Melissa began working with Irma, offering support, advice and providing the funds to purchase items for the care of baby Julio. Melissa made representations to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to vouch for Irma’s character and convince them that Irma should not be separated from her children. Melissa encouraged Irma to go back to school and complete her high school diploma. <br />
<br />
Supportive Housing  provided Irma a housing-voucher so that she could keep her children and live independently of her abusive partner. Irma now lives with her children who have rooms of their own and a back yard in which to play. Julio, now eighteen months, has significant health needs but the relative stability of Irma’s life now means she can look to the future with a sense of optimism. She hopes to complete her associates degree in nursing and eventually earn an income that will allow her to live in accommodation without the need of a subsidy from Supportive Housing. Irma still meets regularly with Melissa who continues to provide her support, in