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Undoubtedly, the year 2020 forced change within homes all across the world. As with numerous individuals, Pamela Houston is learning to adapt. The trials and tribulations for Pamela began when she received her notice for a mandatory temporary leave of absence from her employer. After 10 years of hard work and dedication, she found herself without a job at the height of a pandemic. Instantaneously, the 57-year old found herself unemployed and completely overwhelmed. Her loss of income was incredibly difficult to deal with, but no one could have prepared her for what came shortly afterwards—Pamela’s husband filed for a divorce.

Pamela was devastated. Within a few short months, her life as a vigorous Savannah resident had altered drastically. Despite her physical ailments, she had always been strong and goal-driven. However, her new standing as an unemployed divorcee left her feeling slightly vulnerable.

“I was at my wit’s end, and I was alone,” stated Pamela.

A mother to three adult children and a grandmother to 11 grandchildren, failure was not an option. She was determined to take back her life. Having seen a few ads for United Way of the Coastal Empire, long before she thought she’d ever need them, Pamela decided to reach out for rental assistance. She was surprised by the outcome of her phone call.

“I hesitated because I tried to research employment and resource everything that I could—but when I called they were very polite…They advise you where to go and what to do. They walk you through the process,” she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 55 million U.S. citizens are currently living in poverty—including 8 million citizens since the start of the pandemic. Food banks are servicing countless new visitors. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition reported a spike in rental assistance, due to the sudden rise in poverty. Like many individuals this year, Pamela had approached United Way for the first time. With the help of the CARES Act Fund from the city of Savannah, we were able to assist Pamela as best as possible. We strive to provide everyone with the help they need. We understand the need in our community is steadily rising, and we are here to help residents overcome their obstacles.

“There are so many good people that need help. United Way stepped in, and they were a great help for me,” said Pamela. “This is the first time I’ve had to reach out for help and I’ve actually received it.”

United Way is here when neighbors need help and we will ALWAYS be here for you. We are very thankful for the generosity of our supporters who make this possible. You empower residents like, Pamela, to be most resilient, and we are forever grateful. “If you’re able to give, then give. There are always people who will be less fortunate.”

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