Meet the Faces of VOA Illinois: Deanna

Deanna and her family came to VOA Illinois’ Rapid-Rehousing program in September of 2023 during a period of housing instability. When we met Deanna, she was staying in a shelter with her partner and her two children, and was about to step away from work in preparation for the birth of her next child. At that time, Deanna told us about her ambitions to enter the culinary world and build her career as a chef in order to better support her family. Despite their situation, Deanna and her partner Santiyon were positive and motivated about their future. Our Rapid Rehousing team worked tirelessly to help Deanna and Santiyon find a suitable apartment for their two children, and their new baby on the way. Deanna and her family found a comfortable two bedroom apartment, and were so relieved to have their new home ready before baby number three arrived. Deanna’s Service Coordinator, Megan, made sure Deanna and her family received new furntiure, housing supplies, and other items to make their new house a home.

A short few weeks after being housed in her new apartment, Deanna and her partner welcomed their baby boy on January 1st, 2024, and were able to bring him back to a comfortable home shortly after.

Even though Deanna’s household has not completed the program just yet, they have already taken huge strides towards their dreams and towards stability. Deanna was recently accepted into Inspiration Kitchen’s program, where she will take part in an eight-week food service training program, kick-starting her culinary career. While Deanna is taking part in the paid job-training experience, Santiyon is studying hard to obtain his CDL and start his career as well. Deanna, Santiyon, and their family have taken full advantage of the Rapid Rehousing program at VOA Illinois: having received assistance with rent payments, utility payments, furniture, household items, Christmas gifts, and more. While this assistance from VOA Illinois has afforded them a safe and comfortable home while they both work towards their goals, Deanna and Santiyon’s positive attitudes, hard work, and determination will bring them stability and self-sufficiency in the future.

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