When Montoria Freeland separated from her husband of 15 years in 2008, she left a four-bedroom house and economic security. Before long, her pay and hours as a pharmacy technician were cut and she found herself and her son facing homelessness.
Freeland lived with family for a time, she said, and four months ago moved into transitional housing funded by the city government in Washington, D.C., while searching for work that pays more than her $8.25-an-hour retail job. Having lost her oldest son in a 2000 homicide, Freeland said she insists on looking for housing in a safe neighborhood for her surviving one, now 17. She found that’s available only at an increasingly steep price.
“You’re trying to pay car insurance, rent, electric, cable and if you’re using public transit, putting money on your card, groceries,” said Freeland, who was accepted into a program that provides temporary housing, financial planning and job-placement counseling. “It’s hard to survive out here.”