|Jillian Prudeaux and her soon-to-be five-year-old daughter Adria in their apartment at Melpet Farm Residences.
Five years ago, when Jillian Prudeaux had nowhere else to go, she turned to HAC. “When I met her, she was at the lowest point in her life,” said HAC’s Housing Specialist AnnMarie Torrey.
It’s an assessment that the 29-year-old Prudeaux agrees with. “I was pretty down and out,” she said. “I was being evicted and eight and a half months pregnant.”
And so Torrey, who works with families to connect them to housing, housing assistance, training and job opportunities did the same with Prudeaux at a time when she needed it most. “I do anything that I can to help people become self-sufficient,” Torrey said.
Prudeaux was admittedly lost, lacking the skills she needed to not only live independently, but care for a child that was on the way. “I had my daughter in the midst of my life being in turmoil,” she said.
But with Torrey’s help, she slowly was able to make changes so the turmoil began to subside. “I think a lot of people in my life doubted my determination, but AnnMarie was always there,” Prudeaux said. “She always helped me.”
The first step was to find Prudeaux housing. Torrey did just that, identifying a one-bedroom apartment in Dennis that Prudeaux lived in for nearly four years. It was relatively small, but with HAC providing rental assistance Prudeaux was able to find stability.
Driven to Succeed
Still, Prudeaux wanted more. “She told me she was going to make me proud and she was going to succeed,” Torrey said.
Initially, that meant making sacrifices that included taking public transportation from Dennis to Hyannis – she did not have a car at the time – with her daughter Adria, dropping her off at daycare before heading to work. “She was really putting a lot of effort into it,” Torrey said. “She was very motivated and sincere and determined and she was full of life.”
That effort eventually paid off. Today, Prudeaux is the manager for the Subway in Dennis Port, providing her with enough income to support her family so she no longer relies on HAC for rental assistance.
Last year, she reached out to HAC for help once again, this time with the agency’s real estate department. Prudeaux put her name into a lottery for a rental apartment at Melpet Farm Residences, an affordable housing development in Dennis built by HAC and the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH). Her name was picked and she moved into her new apartment with her daughter in December.
Looking at far how she has come, Prudeaux was proud of all that she has accomplished. “Four years ago, I would cry myself to sleep because I wouldn’t be able to eat,” she said.
She credited HAC for helping her gain the one thing she did not have when she first met Torrey – self-sufficiency. “I thank HAC for giving me the tools to succeed in life. They really helped shape me into an adult,” she said. “HAC is like a little group of angels.”