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Disability Becomes a Steppingstone, Not a Barrier


A native of Nantucket, Danielle had been doing well in her adopted home of Atlanta. But when Danielle was unexpectedly laid off from her job there, she returned to Massachusetts.


Within a few years she was recovering from significant mental health complications, grieving her mother’s death, and trying to get a handle on her personal finances.

And Metro Housing’s personal finance program known as Green Space was there to help.

“The stress and emotional strain of losing my job, returning to Massachusetts, and the financial pressures I was facing all contributed to me becoming ill and I needing to be hospitalized,” said Danielle.

While Danielle was ill for an extended period of time, she relied on her mother for help with everything, as Danielle knew she would. Her mother was still there after she successfully completed treatment.

Unbelievably, just six months later, Danielle’s mom passed away.

“If Metro Housing didn’t exist, I definitely wouldn’t be on the road to recovery  like I am now. I don’t know where I’d be, to be honest.”

“My mom didn’t have much time to see that I was doing well.”

Now heartbroken and responsible for maintaining the home she had shared with her mother, with only disability payments her sole source of for income, she quickly fell behind on the rent. 

A case worker at the Department of Mental Health suggested that Danielle contact Metro Housing for assistance. As she worked with Metro Housing, she applied for a housing voucher, RAFT funding to help her pay back rent, and also learned about the Green Space program and signed up for workshops on improving your credit and on budgeting.

Shawn Judge, Financial Stability Program Manager at Metro Housing said “Danielle’s situation is perfectly suited for Metro Housing because different departments were able to come together to bring her to a place in her life that was so different than where she was last year - she has housing stability, she has economic stability and is starting to build a business.”

“If Metro Housing didn’t exist, I definitely wouldn’t be on the road to recovery  like I am now," said Danielle. "I don’t know where I’d be, to be honest.”

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