LONG BEACH, Calif. — Two months ago, Alissa Fisher was living her dream. Today, she’s struggling to keep a roof overhead.
“I’m just trying to have faith in God and hope that he leads us down the right path,” Fisher said.
Fisher and her four-year-old son Jeremiah were living with her mom while Fisher was pursuing a degree in counseling. Life was good, she said. But after a big argument, her mom kicked them both out of the house.
They spent the next few days staying at a hotel and then, when the money ran out, they slept in her car.
They were able to locate housing at a nearby shelter. Fisher then dropped out of school and found a job.
She was lucky enough to get free daycare at Strong Beach Kiddos in Long Beach, through the help of a nonprofit. She’s hoping to save enough money for rent. But at a salary of $16 an hour, that won’t be easy.
“It’s been tough, having the responsibility of a whole other human being and just trying to make it day by day,” she said.
But on Thursday, Fisher was feeling a little more optimistic as the city of Long Beach announced it was launching a guaranteed-income pilot program meant to help families who live below the poverty line.
The $500-a-month payments will largely go to households led by single mothers in the 90813 ZIP Code, which has the highest concentration of family poverty in the city.
"The impact that we're gonna have in just this one concentrated area of Long Beach is going to be pretty intense, and to help these parents is going to be something special,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said during a news conference.
The program will also provide free child care, transportation expenses and workforce training.
The news couldn’t come at a better time for Fisher, who intends to apply as soon as possible.
“When I heard about it just blew my mind because there are just little signs and blessings that are coming like this that give me hope that everything is going to be OK,” she said.
She hopes the program will allow her to find a new home, giving her and little Jeremiah a new lease on life.