Latasha #SuccessBells

April 1, 2017

Latasha had gotten used to being turned away. Many of the agencies she had visited concluded that she didn’t qualify for assistance the moment they learned of her master’s degree, and on paper, maybe it didn’t look like she needed help. Latasha’s reality of spending nights in her car told another story.

Latasha came to L.A. to pursue a career helping others. But after her first employer moved the organization to another state and a second opportunity fell through due to economic downturn, she found herself in a tough spot.

Still, Latasha kept her head up. To make ends meet, she worked part-time as a lifeguard and offered private swim lessons on the side. Eventually hired full-time as an Aquatics Director, she began to breathe easy. However, one year later, the organization downsized, and Latasha found herself relying on unemployment and desparately diving back into the job search. Soon, her unemployment benefits ended, and she was forced to give up her apartment.

Without a stable home, Latasha slept on friends’ couches, in shelters, and even in her car. When an attempt was made to repossess her vehicle, she decided that was the last straw.

Latasha came to Chrysalis worn from trying to keep her head above water for so long. She was confronted with a conundrum of a barrier: being overqualified for positions due to her master’s degree and underqualified for opportunites due to her lack of paid work experience in the field. She recalls, “Instead of my degree working for me, it was working against me.”

At Chrysalis, she was not turned away. Latasha was greeted by an Employment Specialist who would serve as her lifevest during her job search and as she navigated her housing options. Together, they refined her resume and focused her job search. They also helped her apply for the Housing & Jobs Collaborative program, a rapid re-housing initiative funded by the County of Los Angeles. The program provides a time-limited voucher to allow a person to access housing as quickly as possible, along with employment case management. The goal is to stabilize the individual in housing and help them secure a steady income, so that they are able to pay their rent as the housing voucher expires.

Latasha was approved for the program.

Recently, Latasha stopped by Chrysalis to share some fantastic news: Not only has she been hired as a grantwriter for a nonprofit focused on helping individuals find affordable housing, she has signed a lease for her own apartment! She couldn’t be more grateful to have a place to lay her head at night, and knowing that she’ll be using her talents to help others do the same means so much.

Latasha is a reminder that we can’t always keep our heads above water alone – sometimes we need help. According to Latasha, “I needed help. I needed something bigger than me. Chrysalis was bigger than me.”

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