Giving People Stable Housing and Peace of Mind
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it,” Khristan says about graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). “I felt hopeless.”
Khristan had just moved to San Antonio to attend UTSA before her life was turned upside down. During the onset of the pandemic, she found herself without a stable home mid-way through her bachelor’s program. She was “couch-surfing” with whatever family or friends would let her stay with them. While trying to focus on her studies, she was stuck in a cycle of balancing saving to afford housing while maintaining her grades in school.
“I felt a little lost and it was hard for me to focus on school,” Khristan says.
That’s when she discovered United Way Safety Net Impact Partner THRU Project, which helps young people overcome the challenges of growing up in the foster care system by providing them with support that will prepare them for life after foster care.
With this support, Khristan was given stable, safe housing that she could call her home while she finished school. This gave her the space, stability and peace of mind she needed to persevere through the final years of college.
“As an adult it is important to have your own space, have that place where you can go to where you feel comfortable,” Khristan says. “I did not have that for a while.”
With reliable housing, Khristan had a stronger foundation to support her during the final part of her undergraduate career. She would suffer another setback, as her father passed away during her final semester. Determined to graduate, Khristan says having housing during this time of loss was the reason she would go on to graduate in 2022. “Having that housing made it possible for me to graduate that semester,” she says.
In 2022, Khristan graduated from UTSA with her B.A. in Psychology, with plans to pursue her master’s degree while working on research projects. She plans to work in the mental health field and hopes to drive the next generation of solutions to mental and behavioral health challenges.
With the support of United Way’s Safety Net Impact Area, Khristan was able to preserve, gain confidence and get control of her personal and academic life. Unstable housing is just one of the issues that derail stability for people in our community. Job loss, hunger, rising rent, utility bills, natural disasters and other traumatic life events can have a ripple effect on a person’s education, career and safety.
For Khristan, this support gave her the ability to earn her bachelor’s degree.
“United Way has provided me the opportunity to have stable housing and finish my education.”
Watch Khristan’s story on YouTube at https://youtu.be/budkVdsiQo8.