Rhianna knew she had to do the right thing.
From the age of five, she was the primary caregiver for herself and her younger siblings. Mom was a drug addict, and Rhianna lived primarily with her grandmother. Life for the little family was still a struggle, but at least they had a roof over their heads.
Rhianna moved out of her grandmother’s house and got her own place at age eighteen. Tragedy struck later the next year, her grandmother had a stroke. Rhianna saved her two siblings from foster care by becoming their legal guardian at a young age of twenty-one. Shortly thereafter, she also became legal guardian to an additional sibling, a little boy age four, who came to her malnourished, unhealthy and with major dental problems.
At risk of entering the foster system, her little brother had been sleeping in a vehicle with little or no food. Rhianna received an emergency court order giving her custody to get him the care and services he needed, such as counseling and tutoring. She handled a very adult circumstance with grace and grit at just twenty-one years of age.
Last year, after a bad breakup with her fiancé, this little family found themselves homeless. After an agonizing week with nowhere to stay, Rhianna obtained a list of shelters. Many calls later, she was still unable to secure housing. Thankfully, she received a return phone call from the SVdP CARES Bridging Families Program and this little family of survivors was placed in a hotel on an emergency basis.
“It’s amazing. The help I received right away from SVdP CARES, gave me the opportunity to work, without worrying about where I have to live.”
Through diligent work by her SVdP CARES case manager Vanessa, they were able to get services in place, including counseling and daycare for her young brother.
“SVdP CARES helped me more in my life than anybody else. We are doing a lot better,” she says, from their hotel room. “We are getting our own apartment in two weeks, and we can finally be safe.”It has been a tremendous struggle for this family, but they have persevered under trying circumstances. This is a story of doing whatever is needed to protect family.