When Dawn Clark and her three children moved into a POAH property in the Woodlawn section of Chicago more than ten years ago, they were excited to be part of this vibrant neighborhood that was undergoing a revitalization with new housing, retail stores and many community amenities. Having stable housing was important to their growth as a family and The Grant at Woodlawn Park provided that. By 2014, Dawn and her children were looking for opportunities to gain skills and experiences that would help them build a bright and successful future in other areas of their life - education, employment and community engagement. That’s when they discovered the services offered by the nearby Woodlawn Resource Center (WRC) operated by POAH Communities.
Dawn signed up for support services and resources that helped her gain financial stability and find a job. Working with a WRC Financial Opportunity Team counselor, she was able to raise her credit score by more than 100 points and remove more than $3,000 in debt. At the same time, she was working on improving her computer skills by participating in digital literacy classes and received employment counseling that would help her apply for a job. While Dawn was building her skills, her three children were busy building their own future - participating in summer camp, tutoring, and doing volunteer work as part of their school’s community service requirements. All along the way, the Woodlawn Resource Center was supporting and encouraging each of them in their individual paths to success.
Dawn completed an accelerated employment program through the Woodlawn Job Club, one of the services offered through the WRC’s partnership with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Through the club, she learned professional development skills that focused on customer service and effective communication that helped her land a job at South Shore Hospital. After a positive work experience there, she was able to apply for a new job that brought a significant salary increase with the City of Chicago/ Streets and Sanitation Department.
In May of 2019, Dawn continued to work with her financial coach at the WRC and enrolled in the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program, a program that allows participating households to save the amount of rent increases that result from increased income due to employment into a special escrow account. The program helped her work towards her goal to save for a down payment on a home of her own and the first-time homebuyer workshops offered by POAH’s community partner, Neighborhood Housing Services, helped her find that home.
In just a few short years, Dawn has reached her goals of securing a sustainable means of employment, increasing her credit score and achieving home ownership and the WRC is proud to have been part of that success.