“Keep your head up and work hard. You’ll get what you deserve.”
This is something that my mom would tell me when I was feeling stressed about money. Growing up in a town like Montville, New Jersey, was not easy. Imagine being the new girl and being a girl of color in a predominately white and Asian neighborhood. It wasn’t easy, seeing how easy all my friends seem to have it. Yes, a lot of them did work but there was also a great deal of people who did not have to pay for much.
It was interesting because when people who were not from my town looked at my house, they always said that it was big. My house wasn’t all that big and we were just trying to survive. We pushed through during my high school years, but when my father passed, it became difficult to keep up with everything.
My father was on disability and my mother worked a full-time job that paid her $10 an hour. We weren’t the richest people but we were making what we had work. Then he passed, it all fell to my mother. I remember clearly the morning after we found out about my father, my mother came into the room, dropped to her knees and repeatedly said “I’m so sorry, girls. I don’t know how I can do it alone.”
It was heartbreaking, seeing my mother like that, but I understand how she felt. At the time, she not only had my tuition to worry about, which is $48,740 , but also my sister’s tuition of about $40,000, as well. That’s not to mention a little sister who would not mind blowing all her money on dolls and food. My mother had all that plus our house bills to figure out on an income of $38,400.
I want you to keep in mind that the number I just said is before taxes, and insurance.
My sister and I helped as much as we could. My sister did more than I could because I was all the way in Connecticut, and in this economy, you can’t get a great paying job without having a degree. In fact, even if you have a degree it does not necessarily mean that you will get a job.
We were able to move from our house into a place that has given us a fresh start, Rachel Gardens in the town right next to Montville. They provide affordable housing for families who have low incomes. Being in the apartment has provided us with relief. Yes, we are working on bettering our financial situation, but because of the affordable housing program we are able to save more money and focus on bettering our lives financially. Mentally and physically, we may be tired but we have each other and that makes us happy.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to go into the affordable housing program. I believe that setting people up in affordable housing helps a person to not only have a place to lay their head at night, but it also creates stability in their lives.
You can click here to look in the affordable housing that Connecticut provides.
By Arnelle Pierre-Louis