Iyanna Burns prides herself in being independent and self-sufficient. But in 2019, she had to swallow that pride a bit. Pregnant with her third child, Iyanna made the decision to remove herself from an unhealthy living situation and return to the north Austin area. It’s where she had grown up, and where she could find support from family members. Unable to find an apartment she could afford on what she made at a fast food restaurant, Iyanna took her brother up on his offer to move in with his family.
“There were three – and then four of us packed into one bedroom – little toys, little shoes, stuff everywhere,“ said Iyanna. “And, there was never a moment of peace or privacy. I needed that.”
Iyanna says the worst part was having to rely on someone to help her with the kids she gave birth to. She recalls how embarrassed she was when one of her boys spilled paint, leaving a big, permanent stain on the carpet – carpet she could not afford to replace.
In the summer of 2020, Iyanna started looking again for an apartment she could afford. She called 2-1-1 and learned about Foundation Communities. She went through the application process, and weeks later, she received a call that her family was approved for an apartment at Lakeline Station.
“When I came here to Lakeline Station, I was blown away. The apartments were really, really nice apartments – so spacious and in a quiet community,” said Iyanna.
Iyanna says she was excited, but also scared. She was about to be raising her children by herself for the first time. Fortunately, as part of Foundation Communities’ Children’s HOME Initiative, she received free parental support. Iyanna embraced the financial coaching classes even more as she had compiled quite a bit of debt.
Iyanna said, “I made up my mind I was going to do everything they asked me to do, and it paid off.”
She was able to buy a newer car, one with air conditioning that works! Now, she is virtually debt-free. Her goal now is to purchase a home for her family. Iyanna says it wouldn’t have been possible without affordable housing and support services from Foundation Communities.
Iyanna says in the past, she had always been reluctant to ask for help because she was afraid of what people might think of her. Now, she believes what really counts is what you do with the help you receive. Click on the video below to watch her tell her story at a recent housing expansion event.