Keeping mother and daughter in the only home they’ve known together
Jessie Sandau wanted nothing more than to provide a stable life for her daughter, LaVera, but that stability came into jeopardy in 2023 when she lost her car and job. All she needed was just a little bit of financial help to get through the month so she could keep her Scottsdale apartment while awaiting the start date of her new job. St. Vincent de Paul was there to fill in the financial gap and prevent her family’s homelessness.
Jessie had a difficult childhood. Her mother lost custody of her when she was young, and she spent time in the foster care system. When she aged out and had a daughter of her own, she placed the utmost importance on providing for her daughter.
“I don't ever say that she's growing up in a better household than I did, but I always want her to know that I'm always going to be there,” Jessie said.
Jessie and LaVera have lived in their apartment for three years. LaVera is almost four years old, which means it's the only home she’s ever known. The walls are lined with her drawings and she runs around the rooms with the energy and charm that only three-year-olds have. It’s a special place to this little family.
Unfortunately, trouble came when Jessie was involved in an accident in early 2023, and her car was totaled. Not long after that, car problems compounded by childcare problems, strained her ability to work, and she lost her job.
The month’s bills loomed large in her mind: Rent was coming due, and how was she going to pay for food for LaVera? Wanting to provide for her daughter, Jessie immediately started searching for work. She found a new job — this one was even better, and she would be able to work from home to take care of LaVera. The only problem was that her start date wasn’t for another few weeks.
She didn’t have the money to cover the gap.
“I just felt hopeless,” she said. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
Jessie didn’t know where to turn for help, but she had been attending Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Church in Scottsdale and talked to some people there about the difficulties she was having. They told her about SVdP and its network of 80 neighborhood food pantry and assistance centers run by Vincentian volunteers. Beyond food assistance, they also provide help with rent and utility bills.
“It was pretty much instant,” Jessie said. “Like the next day they called me back and wanted to meet with us.”
When one of the Vincentian volunteers at Our Lady of Petpetual Hope told her they’d be able to help, Jessie said relief washed over her.
“I really almost thought we were going to lose our place.”
SVdP was able to help Jessie with $1,350 in rental assistance. On top of that, the Vincentian volunteers also paid her a visit to give her a food box, pray with her and let her know she’s thought of.
Looking back, Jessie is happy she and LaVera were able to remain in the only home they’ve known as a family. This is the longest Jessie has ever leased an apartment. It not only feels like an accomplishment for her, but also the home she's always wanted for herself and her daughter.
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