With an estimated 10,000 households in Anne Arundel County currently behind on rent, housing instability remains an ever-rising vulnerability in our community. In addition to a severe lack of affordable housing units, many other factors contribute to housing instability including rental prices continuing to grow faster than incomes, and drastic increases in the cost of food, gas, and other basic needs. Rental costs in Anne Arundel County alone have increased 15.6% since 2019, with the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment now being over $1,700 per month. These issues are what our clients at The Light House face each day, and what our programs and services are tasked with navigating.
Our Light House Safe Harbour Resource Center client, Judy, is an example of one who has been experiencing housing instability struggles for years.
Judy, a single mother raising a young son, has worked for the past six years as a Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) at a local senior living facility and has had to continuously work overtime to make ends meet. Two years ago Judy was paying $1,600 month for a 2-bedroom apartment, which was over 50% of her monthly income. When she fell behind on her rent and was evicted, Judy and her young son moved out of their apartment and into the home of extended family members. Like many families who are forced to double up in small homes, Judy’s family made it clear that they were deeply unhappy with her and her son living in their space.
Despite the stresses of living in a volatile home environment, Judy saved up enough to pay off the entirety of her back rent owed from her previous eviction. Unfortunately, this important step forward did not remove the many other barriers she would encounter in her housing search. Throughout this difficult process, Judy and her son found shelter wherever they could. After Judy’s extended family eventually asked her to leave their home, she and her son slept on the couches of coworkers and friends, and even spent a few nights sleeping in their car. Throughout these years of housing instability and homelessness, Judy continued to work full-time as a CNA.
Thankfully, Judy found The Light House and began working with staff in our Safe Harbour Resource Center to help secure a path to stability. Even with enough savings for a security deposit and an excellent credit score, finding an affordable apartment to rent was a struggle. In the meantime, our Safe Harbour Resource Center staff were able to place Judy and her son in safe temporary housing during this long process.
We are happy to report that after years of struggling with homelessness, Judy and here son moved into their very own affordable housing apartment last month. As she begins to rebuild her brighter future, Judy is still able to turn to The Light House for assistance with food, clothing, case management, and other basic needs services.
Judy’s story reflects what more and more residents of Anne Arundel County are experiencing and is an example of why it is more important than ever to support our vital Light House homelessness support and prevention programs.
Your support of The Light House ensures that we can continue to provide neighbors, like Judy, with the life-changing programs and services they need to find their path back home.