Celebrating the Successes of Families During a Global Pandemic

Perkins Homes resident, Ms. McCain found success despite all the challenges she faced in 2020

The impact of the pandemic has been major on USI families throughout 2020 and continuing into 2021. However, despite all the obstacles, families are still finding a way, and we want to celebrate those successes on the Stories of U.S. blog.

Striving to become stable in the midst of many challenges

Ms. McCain, a resident of Perkins Homes in Baltimore, MD, had been negatively affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic in multiple ways. Because of the pandemic, she had become unemployed—she was suddenly unable to provide for her family financially. Then, Ms. McCain was also advised by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) that she had to relocate because of an emergency that was no fault of her own.

The panic set in as Ms. McCain saw all her unforeseen circumstances pile upon each other. The pandemic required that her children be homeschooled. She needed to find a new job with enough income to support her household. And she needed to find a new home. So, Ms. McCain reached out to USI for support. She and her Family Support Specialist, Ms. Hutchings, worked together to develop a plan.

Taking the steps to find success

The first step in the plan for Ms. McCain was to seek assistance while she looked for employment. She applied for unemployment benefits, social service (temporary cash assistance, specifically), and food benefits. She was also referred to the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s online workforce development and industry training program by Ms. Hutchings.

This training program allowed Ms. McCain to get her children acclimated to virtual learning while also learning a new skillset herself. In September 2020, she completed the online portion of her workforce development classes and was transferred to the main hospital for onsite hands-on training. In November, Ms. McCain was hired full-time at Johns Hopkins Hospital with a position in environmental services.

During that same time, Ms. McCain worked diligently to manage the housing needs for her family. Because of the emergency relocation, she attended a series of appointments with HABC to claim her housing choice voucher to find a new home. Everything from research and analysis, to guidance and assurance, the USI Family Support team provides the level of detail needed to empower families throughout the process. Soon after, Ms. McCain found her home and moved in after 45 days of searching.

Lifting up opportunities for our families through partnerships

During the past two years, USI, HABC, and partners within our network, like Johns Hopkins, have made strides toward Baltimore families’ collective success around these five shared strategic goal areas:

  • Family Support and wrap-around services
  • Job skills and employment
  • Early childhood development
  • Youth development
  • Financial education and asset building

USI provides a range of programs and services to move residents towards self-sufficiency. Those services directly impacted Ms. McCain’s ability to build a pathway to work through her challenges in the pursuit of becoming stable and thriving. Her willingness to partner with USI along with our results-driven staff, strategies, and partner network, allowed her equitable access to the opportunities she needed. This alignment of people, process, and patience open greater change for all children and families we serve. See how our work in Baltimore impacted families like Ms. McCain’s in 2020 in our Annual Report.

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