Shawn was working, but struggling to find housing he could afford. He spent some time couch-surfing and ended up staying at the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky. At the Emergency Shelter, staff informed Shawn of available resources, including how to apply for housing through the Housing Authority of Covington and programs at Brighton Center that might help. Shawn moved into his apartment in City Heights and shortly after learned we opened an office right in the neighborhood.
Shawn had a goal – to get a car. To achieve that goal, Shawn knew he needed a better paying job and some guidance in money management. Initially looking to sign up for our Two Cents About Finance workshop, Shawn came to our City Futures office, but soon learned there was even more we could help with. “I tend to stay to myself and don’t ask for help,” Shawn said, “I thought, these are some good people and I think they’ll be able to help me.”
Shawn was ready to get to work and learned that through City Futures his rent would stay the same despite changes in his earned income, allowing him to keep more of his earnings and encourage saving money. After signing up for the Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard program, Shawn met with our City Futures Career Developer to discuss employment opportunities, his experience, and interests.
Shawn expressed interest in Career Bridge, which is a partnership program between United Way, Partners for a Competitive Workforce, Brighton Center and local employers that provides a career pathway from entry-level, low-wage jobs to Advanced Manufacturing. Shawn started working for Chick-fil-A in March 2019 and has been a model employee ever since.
This journey hasn’t always been easy. It takes Shawn about 10 minutes to get to work by bus. However, he works second shift and the bus line that runs to City Heights stops running before he’s done with work. When Shawn gets off work he takes a different bus to get a little bit closer to home, then walks 40 minutes up the hill.
Shawn’s determination has kept him going. Some nights he has thought about quitting on his way home but reminds himself that he has a good job and he needs the money. While his previous job was also in fast food, he is now making a much higher wage and working in a healthier, friendlier work environment. Shawn reminds himself of his goals – getting a car, a higher paying job, and spending more time on passions like writing.
Shawn has continued to work with a Financial Coach through City Futures, has opened a bank account, and is saving for a car. Shawn is taking advantage of an Individual Development Account which matches his savings up to $2,000.
Before working with Brighton Center, Shawn says life was more difficult and he felt unorganized. With the support of City Futures, Career Bridge, and Financial Wellness, Shawn said “life has changed for the better and everything is back in order.” Despite his own initial reluctance to seek out help, he encourages others to learn what Brighton Center has to offer.
“There’s help out there – you just have to come in. They can help different people, all with different needs, and different situations.”
In December of 2019, at the City Futures end of the year celebration, Shawn was recognized for his hard work. “Getting the award made me feel good to know I’m doing well, and that the good I do is noticed by others.” Reflecting further on his involvement with Brighton Center, Shawn says “it’s never too late to start on your journey towards self-sufficiency.” What is this new reality like for Shawn? “It’s shocking, it’s different, but I know it’s what I deserve.” With stable housing, steady employment, a bank account, and savings, the future looks bright for Shawn.
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City Futures is a collaborative partnership between Brighton Center and the Housing Authority of Covington.