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Fri, Apr 29, 2022 at 9:45AM

Another chance for a 2nd chance

Anita Dudley could tell something was up.

The program manager for Family Renew Community’s Holly Hill Residential Campus, Anita was used to seeing mail come to the office addressed to people who no longer live there, having overcome homelessness with her help. But suddenly last spring lots of envelopes —many official-looking — were showing up for a mom she hadn’t seen in over five years.

“Mallory,” homeless back in 2016 with her then 16- and 7-year-old daughters, stayed in a Family Renew apartment for a time and was making progress toward getting back on her feet. Then she abruptly packed up her girls and went to Indiana to care for her mother, who had become seriously ill.

Anita’s hunch that Mallory was back in town and using Family Renew Community’s address for things such as enrolling her younger daughter in middle school was confirmed by an email in June from the older daughter.

“My mom doesn’t want to say anything, but we’re homeless. Can you help us?” the young woman wrote.

The answer was “yes.”

Mallory’s mother had passed away, and, unable to afford to stay in the home in which they had been her caregivers, the family headed back to the familiarity of Florida. They had been living in their car in Daytona Beach for months, showering at a $10-a-month gym.

In July, they came back to stay at the Holly Hill campus. With no rent or utilities to pay, and guidance from Anita, they got their journey out of homelessness back on track. Mallory, now 53, went to work at Wendy’s while addressing some health problems. The older daughter, who turned 21 during this second stay, finished her high school diploma and started classes at Daytona State College while working full time. With more suitable accommodations for doing her homework and getting ready for school, the younger daughter blossomed. Once Mallory’s health allowed, she got a better-paying job in a janitorial department, then moved on to an even better institutional cleaning position.

The family was able to obtain a rental subsidy and moved in January into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

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