Penquis’ Family Self Sufficiency Program works with participants, both individuals and families, to set short and long term goals which will lead the participants(s) towards becoming self-sufficient. We are the coach, advocate, and referral system for participants to services.
Jennifer was married with four children. Her husband became incarcerated and Jennifer had to figure out how to keep her family together. She was renting a house, but could not afford the rent when it was just her salary. She ended up having to take so much time off from work she lost her job. No job and pending homelessness she moved into an old, unsafe mobile home that a friend let her stay in for free.
The Department of Health and Human Services became involved due to the condition of the home. Jennifer was given a time line of when she had to move out of the home by DHHS for the children’s safety. Jennifer reached out to Penquis for housing. We had a Family Support Worker meet with Jennifer to go over her options and what would she need to keep her family together. After a few meetings Jennifer was able to come up with steps she would need to reach immediately and steps she would need to work towards to be able to support and keep her family together. The first step was for her to get into safe housing. With the help of the Family Support worker, she was able to secure an apartment. Having a safe, decent place to live was an immediate goal that she reached and DHHS was able to close her case.
Jennifer was connected with other people working in this FSS program which gave her comfort and support for her to continue on her journey. She learned how to budget and how and why having good credit is important. Jennifer went to a trade school and found a job that would support her family. As Jennifer says,” she does not have all of the creature comforts that many have, but her children have what they need and many things that they want.” She worked hard and was able to participate in the Family Development Account Program. She saved money for two years and received a 4:1 match which she used for a down payment on a house. She knew she had to provide for her children and knew she had to work hard to reach her goal. She no longer receives any state aid and is able to save a little money each month. Jennifer credits having this program as the safety net that helped her keep her family together.