Meet Maria R., a BronxWorks Participant

Maria R., a mother of three, has been stably-housed for three years.

Maria and her two older daughters relocated to New York City in 2017. Shortly thereafter, they entered the shelter system due to being unstably housed. In 2019 they moved into a BronxWorks Supportive Housing development. “My kids, they’ve gotten more freedom, they’re able to have company over, able to socialize better,” Maria says. For children, living in the shelter system can be difficult and stigmatizing, but now Luna and Lisa are thriving. “They’re in the Girl Scouts,” Maria continues, “they love the camp life, they love being in the woods, they love digital design, dancing, and singing.”

Transitioning to permanent housing was not easy or simple for Maria and her family. Shanice John, a BronxWorks Program Director, explains that at first, Maria was reluctant to engage with the supportive housing team. “I think that’s a natural part of the process when moving out of the family shelter and into a supportive housing environment,” Shanice says, “It took a lot of rapport-building. All the staff are very passionate about what they do, and I believe that through the frequent engagement, being friendly, being open and reliable, Maria was able to start to engage with staff and allow them to start providing the supportive services that we have here.”

These days, Maria and her family are fully engaged with the staff and community. As a family, they attend group workshops, recreational activities, and events. Luna recently graduated fifth grade and celebrated along with other families at the graduation ceremony hosted by staff.

(L-R) Luna, Lisa, and Maria at a BronxWorks Graduation Party

“Our families are able to really feel less embarrassed and break down those barriers to being sociable again,” Shanice says.

Maria and her family have been through a lot, but they are looking forward to what is ahead of them now. “Things can be a little hectic on a day to day basis. The staff have been there, helping me, supporting me,” she says. Maria and her daughters are now a family of four, with Maria having given birth to another daughter this year, and have also added a feline roommate. “I just love living here,” the eldest daughter, Luna, says. “It feels great.”

To support families like Maria’s, donate to the BronxWorks Emergency Fund today!

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