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With only a storage unit to call “home” last summer, “Jen” couldn’t even imagine the motherhood joy this May would bring. She’ll watch her 17-year-old son, who has a form of autism and has been with her in the experience of homelessness, graduate from high school with honors. Later this summer, she’ll send him off to college at Florida Polytechnic University.

The son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, isn’t the only one in the family who has thrived as a scholar since her and his mother moved into a cottage at Family Renew Community’s Holly Hill Residential Campus in July 2017. At age 55, Jen is finishing her associate’s degree in business and soon will transfer to a University of Central Florida bachelor’s degree program.

At one time Jen owned a business, but her life was derailed by family tragedy and illness. At Family Renew Community, she received a referral for counseling, which energized to pursue her dream of higher education.

Jen decided she should go to school full time, a choice supported by her case manager, even though it would seriously limit her ability to work. Employment is a basic requirement for parents at Family Renew Community, so that they can build a savings account for their move to permanent housing. With income from educational grants coming in and a knack for frugality, though, Jen was able to meet her savings goals without working.

After her son goes off to college, she will move into an apartment of her own.

Please help us write more happy endings like this for mothers experiencing homelessness with their children with a donation to Family Renew Community.


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