Rent Assistance Helps Bus Driving Resident Get Back in the Driver’s Seat Financially

June 18, 2024 | Posted in Financial Stability, Affordable Housing, Housing |

Stacey Peña Kambeu Kamsu says driving a city bus is the best job she has had, but it also led to one of the most horrific days of her life. A resident of The Jordan at Mueller for four-and-a-half years, in April of last year Stacey was driving her route when an agitated man got on board. He started playing music loudly, and when Stacey asked him to turn it down, as her training requires, the man became irate. He punched Stacey in the nose and then stabbed her with a knife. Fortunately, another passenger talked the attacker into exiting the bus. He was arrested and later convicted in the incident.

Stacey went on workers’ compensation while she healed from her injuries. The program only paid 60 percent of her usual income, which put a financial strain on her and her 14-year-old son. She was also traumatized by the attack, so she requested that when she returned to work she only be assigned daytime routes. Her unique request, as well as a change in management caused Stacey to have trouble getting back on the bus driver schedule.

In January of this year, Stacey’s workers’ comp payments ended. She used her tax refund to pay her February and March rent, but when April’s rent was due, she didn’t have enough money to cover it. Government agencies weren’t able to help and churches offered very little. Stacey was afraid the next stop for her and her son was homelessness.

“There are folks like myself that are literally in dire straits and don’t know where else to turn and other agencies are out of funds,” said Stacey.  “My next plan was to go buy a tent and figure out where I was going to put it.“

The property manager at The Jordan sympathized with Stacey’s predicament and urged her to call Joe Ceceno, a Foundation Communities Financial Wellness case manager to inquire about getting assistance with her rent. Stacey had received help with rent assistance during the pandemic, but she thought she was no longer eligible. Ceceno helped Stacey get her utility bills paid and got her approved for the Foundation Communities Rent Assistance program to cover her May rent and some late fees. Now, Stacey is back at work and all caught up on her bills. She says it wouldn’t have been possible without help from Rent Assistance. Click on the video below to hear her thoughts on the program.

Thanks largely to donations from supporters, in the first six months of 2024, the Foundation Communities Rent Assistance program has already helped more than 75 families and individuals with ’emergency rental assistance’ totaling over $79,300. But, there’s still plenty of 2024 left.

Foundation Communities manages homes where thousands of low-income families and individuals can succeed. Let us show you how at our next Open House in one of our 28 affordable communities. Join us for an informal program with our executive director, which includes a walking tour, inspiring stories from our residents, and ideas about how you can get involved. Click here to RSVP!