Shantee grew up in foster care for her entire adolescent life. When she was only six years old, her foster parent began to sexually abuse her – abuse which lasted for six years before she was placed into a new home. When Shantee became pregnant in high school, she was forced out of the foster house and, with nowhere else to turn, moved in with her boyfriend. When the boyfriend started to physically abuse not just her, but her newborn daughter, Keyana, she packed up their things and left in the middle of the night. At first, they were placed in a domestic abuse shelter. After several months, they were eligible to receive a City voucher that would cover their rent, and they moved into an apartment in Far Rockaway. For two years they lived happily in a stable environment, but when the voucher ended, they were, again, completely uprooted: evicted and forced to leave their home, school, and lives.
This time, PATH placed Shantee and Keyana at a Win shelter, where they found the security and resources needed to start rebuilding their lives. Win counselors helped Shantee apply for public assistance and food stamps, while income building specialists helped her find training as a home health aide. One year later, Shantee, now working fulltime as a home health aide, was able to move out of shelter. As Shantee puts it, Win was there for her every step of the way. Working with staff, Shantee used money from her income tax refund to pay for the first month’s rent, broker’s fee, and the security deposit for a new apartment.
Today, Shantee and her daughter, Keyana, have lived in their own apartment for nearly a decade. Shantee has gone back to school and graduated with her Associate’s degree in Spring of 2019. Read about Keyana’s story below.