Ivory & Jazmine: Stability Means Everything
"Now that the family is reunited under one roof, Ivory says “every day is awesome— to be in our own space and not have to wonder where we’re going to get food.”
While Ivory and Jazmine have a very busy schedule these days, you can hear the joy in their voices as they share a typical day. As Ivory helps their children ages 11, 9, and 8, with their virtual learning from 9:00 to 3:00 and cares for their younger daughter, Jazmine is at work. After school and work, the couple are busy setting up the new apartment they recently moved into with Rainbow’s support.
“Stability means everything,” Ivory says. “It’s been a long, long time coming.”
Jazmine and Ivory, whose relationship began in high school, lost their apartment in 2016. They spent the next four years going from shelter to shelter both in California and Nevada, looking for work and taking temporary jobs when they could find them. The couple cared for their 3-year-old daughter as their older children stayed with relatives.
“It was a constant struggle,” Ivory says. They were on a list for a Section 8 voucher but the wait rolled on from year to year. “It was hard to get a job because we didn’t know where we were going to be.”
When their spot at the last shelter fell through, Jazmine says, “We were lucky we had a car.” They spent a few months sleeping in their car in the parking lot of a hospital, then another month in a grocery store lot. During this time, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Bay Area, making an already difficult and stressful situation even more so.
“Our 3-year-old was developing anxiety and crying all the time,” Ivory says. “Sometimes I would go to the grocery store restroom and cry so she wouldn’t see me.”
One day, Ivory got an email on her phone letting her know about Rainbow’s Emergency Housing Program. She immediately called and talked with Rasheedah Blake, Rainbow’s Youth Housing Program Director. “That moment right there,” says Ivory, “was a lifesaver.”
“Ivory and Jazmine really care a lot about each other and they wanted to make sure their child was in a safe place,” Rasheedah says. “They never gave up.”
Rainbow provided the family with funds for a hotel room as well as food, toiletries, and other essentials as Ivory checked in frequently with the Housing Authority to ask about their Section 8 voucher. When their housing voucher finally came through, Rainbow helped them with the deposit so they could move out of the hotel into a home of their own.
“If Rasheedah hadn’t believed in us, I honestly don’t know where we’d be right now,” Ivory says. “As soon as we got connected to Rainbow, we knew we were safe.”
Now that the family is reunited under one roof, Ivory says “every day is awesome— to be in our own space and not have to wonder where we’re going to get food.”
“The day they got into the apartment, Ivory sent me a picture of the keys,” Rasheedah says, who coordinated with the Walnut Creek Methodist Church to help the couple furnish their new apartment, including Mickey Mouse desks for the kids. “Ivory and Jazmine are extremely self-motivated. They were always so thankful and gracious. They are beautiful young people.”
Through it all, Ivory says, “We kept faith in a higher power and never gave up. That’s what I’d want people to know. When things get rough, times get hard, keep the faith. Reach out— instead of thinking you can do it all by yourself. Just don’t give up.”