In collaboration with the New York Times’ Neediest Cases Fund, we present this story of a mother and her children facing housing insecurity.
This article is part of a series recounting the stories of people who received help from nonprofit organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.
For Tameca Gathers, finding stable housing for her family has been a relief. After leaving a relationship several years ago, she took herself and her two children to a shelter. She was pregnant with another child.
“I sat there and cried with my kids,” she said, “because I didn’t want to start all over again.”
Nearly two years ago, she also won a spot in the city housing lottery, allowing them to leave the shelter system. In February 2021, Ms. Gathers was approved for a furnished two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. The apartment is in a building that is an effort of the Association of New York Catholic Homes, an agency of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, a beneficiary of The Neediest Cases Fund.
Ms. Gathers, 41, pays $400 a month in rent, and the city contributes an $847 monthly housing subsidy. She supports herself with her monthly $1,200 Social Security Disability Income and a $900 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit, which goes a long way in buying groceries for her daughters, Skyler, 4, and Audrey, 14, and her son, Jajuan, 16.
Jajuan is a 6-foot-9 “teddy bear,” she said, who wears size 15 shoes, and buying him shirts and pants is costly. “I have to shop in the big and tall stores for him,” Ms. Gathers said. Using money from The Fund, Catholic Charities is giving her a $250 gift card to help purchase clothing.
Ms. Gathers recently renewed her lease for the apartment. She doesn’t expect it to be her forever home, but for now it’s enough.
“I love it to pieces because it’s home,” she said. “It’s the home that I cried for.”