When I first met Miss Jasmine (above) she was scared and in a state of desperation and uncertainty. She was laid off from her job and quickly falling behind on her rent. Her pending eviction was just a few short weeks away. She was paralyzed by fear and unable to think about the next logical step to care for herself and her one-year-old son.
For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute. "Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty," Desmond says. "Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability."
Keep reading to learn more, and we'll come back to Miss Jasmine in a moment...
With evictions on the rise and quickly becoming a national epidemic, there is more of a reason than ever to Empower those in need. Pioneering a program to create such a change has become R Empowerment's inspired mission.
Our aim is to help those who live with the threat of being homeless find a pathway to Self-Empowerment.
Our 501(c)(3) not-for-profit works with lower-income communities and residents who are facing eviction. Our program puts individuals on the path of Self-sustainment by introducing them to budgeting, self-esteem building, goal setting, vocational workshops, mentoring and more to get them back on their feet and paying their rents once again.
Below are some before and after photos of our residents to give you an idea of the power of our curriculum and what Self-Empowerment looks like.
Together we can make a difference!
When a resident enters our program, they have been sent to eviction and are awaiting a court date. In the meantime, they are required to attend various Empowerment classes and take the initiative to get on a stronger financial track.
Initially, there is a lot of resistance, as many individuals have a bad memory associated with taking classes and education in general. Life at this level seems...hopeless.
We often hear, "I'm not smart enough" or "what difference will it make in my life anyway?"
As you can see by these before and after photos, an individual leaves our classroom with a new mindset.
This is often the first time in their lives they have ever heard someone say, "You are worth it, you can do it, and we will show you how."
We are able to inspire our residents to thrive for more in life. Our residents will get second jobs or perhaps complete a GED, and some will even have the courage to apply for management positions.
Sadly, most of our residents live with the reality of trauma and have only known poverty. In addition, they have become accustomed to relying on "the system".
However, we are here to give them a new perspective, inspire them, and provide the tools they need to get on a higher earning track.
We work with rental communities who agree to temporarily "shelf" the back-rents of qualified residents instead of evicting them. This gives us a little time to point the residents, who are destined for homelessness, in a new direction.
Unfortunately, there is still a big gap and we need your help.
Even though we can get our residents on a better path, they are often unable to completely "catch up" and sustain motivation without some kind of financial support.
There are many obstacles in their way, such as past-due balances on their rent or escalating electric bills. Often an individual encounters a missed day of work due to an illness or a car breaking down. Even missing a few hours of work can financially cripple and often defeat one who has been trying so hard to make a change and get ahead.
Through our Empowerment program, residents will create a new game plan and can begin to act.
When a resident can comply with the requirements of our program for 3 consecutive months, R-Empowerment uses donated funds to step in and help bridge the gap.
Will it surprise you to know that the amount an individual is evicted over is less than $700?!
Remember Miss Jasmine? Take a look at the photos below. Instead of taking unemployment (which wasn't enough to cover her rent), she chose Self-Empowerment. She decided to get two jobs and was able to begin paying her rent once again. In addition, through budgeting, she realized she could afford to add $100 every month towards her past due rent balance. Miss Jasmine is starting her third month in the program, but due to court costs and delinquent fees being continuously added to her account, it's going to be difficult for her to get completely caught up on her own. Although she is working two jobs, and putting in many hours, one of her biggest necessary expenses is child care.
Your tax-deductible contributions allow an individual to continue a new path towards a better life with new hope and determination.
It is with a lot of love, patience, encouragement and financial support from your donations that our residents begin to fuel their personal desire and create a change from within.
Once an individual experiences the feeling of success and can say: “I did it”, they are on the path to a better life...