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Even as they’ve grown into young adults with children of their own, Jessica and her siblings have leaned on each other a lot since losing their parents many years ago. But there was only so long two full families could coexist peacefully in a small home. In May 2016, a brother and his family — with whom Jessica, her teenager and her toddler had crammed in — had enough. A 35-year-old single mother struggling along on low-level health-care workers’ wages, Jessica could not find a place she could afford to rent when she was asked to leave.

When she found an apartment at Family Renew Community’s DeLand Residential Campus, she also found her confidence, and a way to get past the hurt, says Linda Bennett, the program manager there.

“This is a young lady who was very closed and hard to reach,” Linda recalls.

With Linda’s help and a reprieve from the worry of earning enough money for rent, Jessica developed a plan to work part time and go to school to be a medical assistant. She earned her certification this past summer, and quickly got a full-time, well-paying job with benefits in a doctor’s office.

She stayed at Family Renew Community until early November, socking away money in her housing fund while looking for the right rental opportunity. The three-bedroom, two-bath rental home in Deltona she found in her price range has plenty of room her herself, her 15-year-old son, her 3-year-old daughter — and a niece who has no place else to go.

(Note: Photo depicts model, not Jessica.)

  • Jessica