In 2013, Detroit resident Cora Baker (front) moved herself and her five children into a domestic violence shelter, where they stayed for a few months. While her job as a housekeeper at a large hotel allowed her to cover the cost of food and other essentials, she lacked funds to afford rental application fees and an eventual security deposit.
When Cora and her children had to leave the shelter, they turned to friends and family for temporary living arrangements. But this often meant that Cora and her children had to live apart from one another.
In June 2014, Cora and a group of her friends hear about the Family Independence Initiative from a local nonprofit and decided to form a cohort. Cora began to co-organize meetings and kept a journal of her financial habits through FII’s online data system. In the meantime, Cora used the money she earned for sharing her information with FII to cover groceries and gas to get to work. This allowed her to start saving some of her paycheck toward rental application fees and a security deposit.
Within four months, Cora saved enough to secure a five-bedroom apartment in Detroit. With her family living under one roof once again, Cora says they can now focus on building the next stage of their lives. As for her FII cohort, they are looking for ways to inspire their children to stay motivated in school and work towards college.