Brittany reached out to Community Progress Council in 2020 with one need: An apartment. After her initial conversation with a Resource Navigator, she connected with a Coach who could help her pursue her housing goals. Little did she know that that relationship would grow into something deeper.
When her housing needs changed, Brittany stuck with her Coach, and instead opened up about her struggle with post-partum depression. As a new mom to a baby boy and with another son on the way, Brittany’s plate was full. Based on resources her Coach provided, Brittany accessed the support services she needed.
After that, her Coach continued to check in.
“She would just call me every 2 weeks and see what my progress was, what my goals were, what I needed to work on,” Brittany said.
She enrolled in Community Progress Council’s “Getting Ahead In A Just-Gettin’-By-World” program, where participants investigate how poverty affects their lives and their communities. Gift cards provided to participants in exchange for their time paid for her children’s Christmas that year.
“Like everyone else, we were struggling,” she says. “We were first-time parents.”
Brittany knew she wanted to pursue a new job, with a better work environment. But her ultimate goal was to purchase a house, for her kids.
“When I was younger, we moved around a lot,” said Brittany, whose mom died when she was 11. “When I got older, I craved stability. My ultimate goal was for my kids to have somewhere to call home. I didn’t want my memories to be their memories.”
The road ahead was long.
But Brittany is nothing if not determined.
“It was hard, but I did it,” she says. “And I did it with the help of CPC.”
With her Coach’s support, Brittany started by working on building her credit. She took the first-time homebuyer course through Community Progress Council’s housing education program, but her credit score wasn’t yet where it needed to be.
Discouraged, she pivoted. Her Coach encouraged her to consider going back to college.
“I was scared to go back to school,” Brittany said, noting her less-than-stellar record in high school. “Well, I ended up making the dean’s list and graduated with a certificate in Human Resources.”
With new confidence, Brittany went through the first-time homebuyer course again. She also worked with her Coach to write her resignation letter to her job, and applied for a new position at the front desk of the newly renovated Yorktowne Hotel in downtown York.
“I love my job and I love what I do there,” Brittany said. “When I started there, I had a hard hat on, there were concrete slabs everywhere. They were very hands-on with employees, and I loved the whole process of opening the hotel.”
It was through a connection from a team member at York County Economic Alliance, who oversaw the hotel renovations, that Brittany met the Realtor representing her dream house. With her credit score up, she qualified for an FHA loan to help with her down payment.
In June, she closed on her home.
“When my son was 9 months old, I had signed up for welfare,” Brittany said. “I was struggling and didn’t know what to do. But I told [my Coach], I don’t want to be on this forever. … It was a journey for sure. It took me 4 years. But I’m finally stable where I don’t need government assistance.”
The relationship she developed with her Coach at Community Progress Council helped Brittany to push herself out of her comfort zone, knowing she had someone in her corner the entire way.
“She would call me, ‘Did you get this done?’ [I’d say,] ‘I’m working on it.’ [And she’d reply,] ‘Here’s your deadline.’”
“Now I just work on deadlines.”
Her sons have been enrolled in Community Progress Council’s early childhood education programs for almost 3 years, creating additional relationships that Brittany calls “a staple” in their lives — so much so that after they purchased their home, Brittany continued to make the two-bus trek with her children so they could remain in the program.
“I don’t know what I’d do without them,” Brittany said, about her son’s teachers. “I don’t want them to go anywhere else. I built a bond with their teachers and they built a bond with the teachers.”
Not one to rest on her dreams, Brittany is looking forward to the spring semester and beginning a two-year program to further her education. At 32 years old, she hopes to earn her master’s degree before she turns 40 — a far cry from her high school self.
“I owe so much of my success to everything and everybody that is included in the CPC,” Brittany said. “It’s a foundation, right? They really held my hand through a lot of it. I just want the community to know that there is help. There is a way, you just have to work toward that way.”