When Covid cases surged and prompted a statewide lockdown in March 2020, Destinie R.’s already busy life became a lot more complicated and uncertain.
Like many others, the full-time employee and single mother of two had to balance a lot – and fast. She began working from home and helping her daughter with online school, but the demands were just too much.
“I wondered what I was going to do,” says Destinie, who lives in a USA Properties Fund apartment community in the Sacramento region. “It was super-stressful at first.”
Best choice for her family created a financial hardship
The best option was to cut her hours at work to help her elementary school-aged daughter with distance learning and also stay home with her then 1-year-old son. Her employer – a package-management and locker company – approved the idea, but Destinie would have a big cut in her paycheck.
Destinie wasn’t sure how she would cover some of her monthly costs, including rent. She was eligible for jobless benefits, but the state was initially unresponsive.
Then, Destinie’s apartment manager told her about the JB Brown Fund, a program that provides financial assistance for financially strapped families in many USA Properties communities.
“At first, I wasn’t sure I would qualify,” she says. Destinie completed the application, detailing her family’s situation and financial need, and was approved for rent assistance in a couple of weeks. “Everything kind of worked out.”
A helping hand was the perfect holiday gift
The JB Brown Fund covered half of the rent in September and January.
“It’s helped tremendously,” says Destinie, who greatly appreciates the assistance from the JB Brown Fund, possible through donations from companies and individuals. “I really want to thank them. They have helped out a lot.”
The JB Brown Fund’s assistance went beyond dollars. The organization provided diapers and baby wipes for her young son, and Christmas gifts for both of her children.
“They were so surprised,” she says. The apartment manager said, “‘The toys were knocked off Santa’s sled.’”
The gifts – the dollars and the holiday presents – landed at just-the-right time for Destinie, who was eventually approved for unemployment benefits.
“I never thought I would live through a pandemic,” says Destinie, who has only left home for the grocery store or medical appointments during the pandemic. “This is history we’re living through.”
Destinie is saving for a house and returning to school
Much has changed during the past year for Destinie as well. Destinie was promoted at work, and as much as she enjoys her apartment community – it’s close to her daughter’s school, shopping and a park – she is committed to buying a home in the future.
And the former high school 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) student plans to return to college soon. The JB Brown Fund offers college scholarships to residents, and Destinie plans on applying for the program.
Destinie says that Covid has been devasting for so many people – and in so many ways. But she adds there has also been a positive for her family.
“I see it as a blessing,” she says. “I’ve been able to spend more time with my kids, and be together as a family.”