'Don't be afraid to ask for help,' says mom of 3

Melanie’s path as a young parent hasn’t been easy. She regrets her poor rental history and bad credit. Originally from northern Minnesota, she left home after an eviction to stay temporarily with an aunt in the Shakopee area. That situation wasn’t working well, so she left -- and she and the kids came to experience homelessness. (She is pictured here with her youngest child, Ayden)

“I felt completely worthless, like a failure to my kids,” Melanie said. The family lived in a motel for a while. It was a roof over their heads but nothing more. She hit another bump in the road, and for two months her daughters, 8 and 10, and her almost-2-year-old son did not live with her, instead staying temporarily with relatives.

Meanwhile, Melanie ended up back at the motel, worked two jobs and thanks to a Scott County social worker, was introduced to Families Moving Forward. She was reluctant to accept help but was determined to get her children back, and participating in the FMF program, working with Sakinah to find housing and set goals was a way to do that.

Today Melanie and her children live in a 3-bedroom home in Prior Lake, where the landlord was willing to accept her Section 8 rent subsidy voucher and give her a second chance.

Life isn’t completely rosy yet; Melanie is looking for a job, and needs a car to open more opportunities to her. But she feels like a weight has been lifted from her, mostly because her children are happy to have a home, no longer worrying about where they’re going to be living. She’s made friends with a neighbor and keeps in touch with another mom from Families Moving Forward.

“I am forever grateful for the program. I met a lot of really good people. And I learned that you can’t give up.”

Her advice to other parents? “Don’t be afraid to ask for help before it’s too late. Don’t let your pride get in the way.”