When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and destroyed her housing, Sasha Guevarez fled.
She and her 8-year-old son, Yael, moved one week later, leaving the boy’s father behind. The little family of 3 hoped to reunite in Central Florida.
Forced into single motherhood, Sasha and her son shared one twin bed in a small room in her godmother’s Clermont home.
With no car, she walked 30 minutes to her son’s elementary school where she was a crossing guard, followed by a 15-minute run to her job as a prep chef at Golden Coral.
Sasha would repeat the walk/run each shift to return as a crossing guard and walk her son home after school.
Hoping to Get Housing
As soon as she heard about Woodwinds Apartments, Sasha began calling every week to make sure she was doing whatever necessary to qualify and to be considered for the workforce housing.
The young mother remembers getting the call from Woodwinds letting her know she was accepted and could move into a 2-bedroom apartment.
Screaming For Joy
“I was working at Golden Corral,” she remembers, “and when they called, I went into the freezer and screamed! I made it!”
Sasha began taking advantage of everything available at Woodwinds Apartments. She met with a case manager nearly every week.
Hoping to get a job as a teacher, the graduate from University of Puerto Rico scheduled a mock interview through her case manager at the workforce housing clubhouse. She took the advice of the interviewer and four months later, she got a job as a first grade teacher.
She also got a car.
“She’s really progressed,” says Jenny Sanchez, Case Manager at Woodwinds. “She got a better job, she’s working on improving her credit score, she comes for mentoring and advice. She now has a 5-year goal of buying a house.”
Sasha still hopes that Yael’s father will be able to join them soon. He remains in Puerto Rico right now.
Meanwhile she’s found a career, transportation, and a safe place to call home. “I’m doing this myself,” she says with a smile.