After 17 years of addiction, I was tired of being tired. So, I left my home and my life in Washington, DC, with my newly born 3-week-old twin boys and moved to a shelter in Loudoun County. I only had a few clothes and a case of formula to call my own.
I was at the shelter for 3 months. I got clean and spent every day looking for a job, sending out as many as 50 resumes a day. Eventually, I found a job—one that I really enjoy doing—working full-time with people with special needs. I was able to move out of the shelter, rent a place of my own in Purcellville, and qualify for Virginia’s day care assistance program. I even got a car through a local group that helps people restart their lives. Since then, I have been giving back to the shelter that helped me and also to my church. And, I have been spending time with my two beautiful babies.
That should be the happy ending of this challenging chapter of my life—and my boys’ lives. But, it isn’t.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
In November, when my babies turn 2, my day-care assistance will end—3 years before I can put my boys in public school. Without any family or friends in the area, I am facing 3 years of needing to pay someone to take care of my boys while I work. But, I only make $30,000 a year; day care will cost $24,000. That will not leave me near enough to pay for rent, food, insurance, and gas. This is a real problem for single moms who live in Loudoun, the most affluent county in the nation.
I could quit my job to take care of my babies, but how would I pay my bills? I am not even eligible for unemployment. I’ll have to go back on the street or back into the system.
Right now, I am living in faith. I am applying for jobs that offer higher pay or day-care assistance. But, who knows if I will find one in time? No Mom in Loudoun should have to choose between working and taking care of their children. We need a way to help End the Need for single mothers who are living so close to the poverty line.