By Sr. Theresa Gleeson, BVM
Several years ago Eloisa was married and had two small children, but the relationship ended after a long period of domestic violence. Her husband paid all of the bills when he was with the family but now that he is gone Eloisa had to find a job to pay the rent.
Eloisa is a bright, young, bilingual woman with a college degree. She has lived in the United States almost her entire life, however, because she was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was a baby, she did not have legal authorization to work in the United States. This meant that she could not find a job that enabled her to put that college degree to use.
With the assistance of a legal aid organization, Eloisa qualified for a work permit under the DACA program—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She found a job but she only works for three days a week and this is not sufficient to pay the rent in full. Her Boss has told her he wants to give her extra days to work soon.
Eloisa was referred to Taller de Jose by an organization that helps survivors of domestic abuse. At Taller de José, we called multiple organizations and agencies to find financial assistance for one month’s rent. We hit dead end after dead end because Eloisa did not meet the qualifications for one reason or another at each of the agencies. Finally, through persistence and advocacy on Eloisa’s behalf, Eloisa and her compañera found an organization that was able to assist Eloisa with one month’s rent until her hours at work increased.
Eloisa’s faith and hope have been her guides as she has walked down this new road. As the poet, Antonio Machado has said, “Traveler, there is no road, the road is made by walking”.