Faces of Success: Rickcale Peoples
There are times when Rickcale Peoples feels like she’s dreaming. Her current living situation is noticeably different from her previous experiences.
“I became homeless when I decided I was tired of being in an abusive relationship. Now, I have this new place to live; I feel like someone needs to pinch me to wake me up from this incredible dream.”
Peoples is a domestic violence survivor who recently overcame homelessness, thanks to the Family Empowerment Program. The Family Empowerment Program is operated in partnership by United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Catholic Charities of Tennessee and Safe Haven Family Shelter in order to move families from homelessness into permanent, stable housing. This two-generational case management program was ideal for Peoples because it helped her set goals around finding stable housing for her and her family. A housing specialist identifies city landlords who are willing to accept housing vouchers from their tenants. Program families who are working full-time but are unable to pay first and last month’s rent, as well as a security deposit upfront are eligible for rent assistance.
“One of my biggest challenges was the lack of a safety net,” said Peoples. “I didn’t have first and last month’s rent because I had other bills to pay. Even though I work full-time, it was hard for me to come up with funds for a security deposit because I just didn’t have the money. I didn’t realize the Family Empowerment Program could help me with my security deposit.”
The Family Empowerment Program’s case managers also work with families for a period of up to 24 months to address additional needs and ensure clients have the resources and tools needed for long-term success. Peoples appreciates the support she received from her case manager throughout her time in the program.
“When I first met my case manager, we sat down and went over my employment, salary history, and she addressed any additional issues that would keep me from getting my own place.”
Peoples is grateful to the Homeless Education Resources Outreach (HERO) program — which identifies Metropolitan Nashville Public School students and their families who are homeless — for referring her to the Family Empowerment Program. It has made all the difference for her and her daughters, enabling them to also remain in the same school zone.
“I was homeless for a year and a half, but it felt like a much longer period of time because of my experience with domestic violence. The fact that I was able to get out of the situation alive was a blessing. I’m grateful there are others out there who are willing to help people like me and genuinely care.”
Peoples is no longer dreaming about what life might be like living in a place of her own. She can rest easier because she has a safe place to raise her children, thanks to the Family Empowerment Program.