Flora and her son, Rashon, have faced hard times. When the family became homeless, Flora made the decision to place Rashon, a member of the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), into a DDD group home where he’d have a place to sleep and food to eat. Rashon, who wanted to be with his mother, rebelled.
“He was really having a hard time being away from me,” said Flora. “He gave the personnel at the group home [a hard time]. He packed all of his stuff, he picked out a date that he was coming with Mom and then he just started fighting everyone. I think that was so he would get put out and get back with me.”
Support Coordinator, Maria Parker, had a solution and told Flora about the DDD Affordable Housing Program. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a special grant to help qualified members with affordable housing options. Through a joint effort, a HUD 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Grant was awarded to the Arizona Department of Housing to help fund units in several properties across the state.
“Members rely on the referral of the Support Coordinator to access these affordable housing opportunities,” said Megan Akens, DDD Affordable Housing Supervisor. “The DDD Affordable Housing opportunities eliminated the need for a higher level of care for this member, and enabled the member to live the life he chose by supporting the team through the planning process and referring them to housing subsidies.”
Rashon and his mother, Flora, stand in the fully-equipped kitchen of their apartment home.
The member was placed on the waitlist for Affordable Housing and was contacted when their name reached the top and a vacancy was available. This vacancy was in Phoenix, “I had someone to bring me out here to see where I was going to be living,” said Flora. “I had already claimed it in my mind and my heart.”
On June 2, 2020, Flora and Rashon moved into a spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on Van Buren Street in Phoenix. “It’s like a mansion to me. I didn’t expect it to be so nice. I’m very humbled and just satisfied. I was just so happy. Oh, my goodness, I was crying -- I’m crying now just thinking about how blessed I am.”
Looking back, Flora recalls, “I felt so hopeless.” She advises others to keep the faith regardless of how low you’re feeling, “because there are good people, and good programs. I knew nothing of this program and it’s just such a blessing. It’s like a miracle. [...] I thought [miracles] only happened to other people, but it happened to us.”