Candace Sloan, a resident of Cedar Run Apartments in Brownsburg, Ind., was awarded the CRHD Founders Scholarship on June 11 at the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing Annual Meeting and Legislative Conference in Arlington, Va.
Sloan is enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College where she plans pursue a career in nursing or surgical technology. She is the mother of a 7-year-old son, works full-time, and volunteers with her son’s soccer club.
Dominion Realty, Inc., and AHAIN and CARH member – manages Cedar Run Apartments.
Four scholarships were awarded by CARH at its annual meeting to residents of CARH-member affordable rural housing properties who have excelled academically and demonstrated the greatest potential for utilizing the resources offered by these scholarships. Each scholarship will provide $1,000 per semester for educational expenses, for a maximum of four years.
Applicants for the scholarships included a personal statement/essay with their application using the theme “Housing is an Essential Right.”
Pictured are Kevin Flynn, CARH President; Candace Sloan, CARH scholarship recipient; and Colleen Fisher, CARH Executive Director.
Candace Sloan’s essay
Housing is an Essential Right
I have lived on my own for nine years. I have lived in many locations surviving paycheck to paycheck. I believe it is essential to have affordable housing. Without opportunities to better you, how can the majority expect our country to prevail?
I am a proud mother of a seven year old son born in 2005. I had only recently turned 19 a month prior to his birth. When I was pregnant I was forced to drop out of high school but did not allow that to keep me from obtaining my GED. After an abusive relationship with my son’s father whom I lived with, I was able to leave and within two months save enough money to purchase a car, pay first month’s rent, the deposit for the apartment, electric and gas as well as buy two beds. I left the toxic situation taking nothing with me but my clothes and personal items such as photos of my family. I did not want to fight over materialistic items.
Living in an empty house was very depressing but within a few months I was able to acquire the essentials While living in the double the rent was $600 a month, I had child care expenses equivalent to $560 a month plus the utilities. I wanted to start school at that time but I had no way of managing my bills, taking care of my son and attending school. Food and gas, oil changes, car insurance and car maintenance always factor in when living on a budget. After years of financial stress I tried to live with a roommate.
My roommate also had a child and our children shared a room. The finances started to ease my stress but by the 4th month, my roommate started to not be able to pay on time. She also started dating a man with whom she would do drugs and drink with and would not take care of her son. This caused major issues with my studies. I have a son and couldn’t go to the library or anywhere else for that matter because I would have had to entertain him and would not get any studies accomplished. I was now the caretaker of mine, hers, and her boyfriend’s 2 children. They would not watch their children and I could not let the kids run around the house unattended. In my opinion that is child neglect.
It was very difficult to get my studies done. I took a few classes online in attempt to avoid the commute to the required courses because they were over an hour away. Because my roommate and her boyfriend would not watch their children, I would try to take my tests and complete my required work while watching and tending to all of the children, and it compromised my online classes. This is something on a transcript I cannot change. After my lease had come to an end I found Cedar Run apartments and was able to immediately move in.
Having affordable rent and utilities allow me to live on my own with my son and accomplish the things I could not accomplish in my recent living conditions. My goal out of this opportunity is to graduate with an associate’s degree and move out so some other family or single parent may receive the same benefits! Affordable housing should be a right.
It should be a right to the people who want to make a change in their situation. If I was not able to get benefits I would remain in poverty and never be able to excel. I do not have parents who can help me with living expenses or offer me a place to stay while I try and educate myself. I am a single mother who wants to be educated and give back to the community that has so graciously given to me. I have been given an opportunity and want to take full advantage of it.
It has been a journey trying to survive on my own. Having affordable living conditions has created opportunities for me to better educate myself. I am about to be at the point of my schooling where I will have to do clinical work and courses 5 days a week and will be exhausted from school alone. I will also be working and taking care of my son. Just knowing that I will be able to afford to live is going to help me study and do well in school. I will have less stress and be more alert. This is what affordable housing does for someone trying to further educate themselves.