It took Kaleena Smaller much more than a few years to find an apartment.

“I experimented with all the things — lotteries, regular Realtors. I crammed out 60 to 70 programs, but I was just finding rejection letters, rejection letters,” she stated. “I would even go in my get the job done uniform so they can see I’m operating.”

Ms. Little, 38, lived in a domestic violence shelter with her youthful daughter from the spring of 2017 to May well of previous yr, when she finally obtained a a single-bed room apartment at the Fountains, an affordable housing progress in East New York, Brooklyn.

Ms. Smaller grew up in the Allerton neighborhood of the Bronx, where she also lived with her boyfriend — they have been “high university sweethearts,” she stated — and the father of her daughter, Keandra Brown, 6.

“One moment, everything was interesting, and the next … He wasn’t terrible with his kid, but he was not appropriate with me,” she reported. “I couldn’t raise my child, my daughter, in a domestic violence household. I really do not want that for my child at all I never want that for anybody.”

When Ms. Small still left her boyfriend, she and Keandra went to a shorter-term domestic violence shelter in East Harlem, and then transferred to a lengthier-term domestic violence shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Regardless of possessing labored because she was 16 — in fast foods at McDonald’s and Burger King, in amusement park functions at Rye Playland and as a stability guard for numerous providers — Ms. Tiny had in no way lived on your own and could not find the money for to.

At very first, she was satisfied to have the assistance of the shelter. She was given a furnished 1-bed room to share with her daughter and uncovered the parenting and economic management courses valuable.

“I was frightened to be on my own — I experienced hardly ever been by myself and I needed that extra support,” she claimed. “They had stuff we needed to know in advance of hitting the genuine planet. It taught me independence and expanding up a lot more.”

The shelter also connected her with town employment systems that served her discover better-paid work, undertaking servicing with the New York Metropolis Division of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Sanitation. “Working with sanitation, I cashed a $1,000 test,” she explained. “I experienced hardly ever cashed a $1,000 test before. I was loving it.”

Ms. Compact searched for a long term house the whole time she was in the shelter, but located there was no put to go. While she acquired a housing voucher as aspect of the expansion of the Family Eviction Avoidance Nutritional supplement application, the landlords she met wished additional than the maximum hire authorized by the application. (Less than recent pointers, a household of two can shell out no much more than $1,268 a thirty day period.)

“At just one place, they said of course, but then they told me they obtained a larger bid,” Ms. Modest stated. Inspite of assurances that they would retain her in head if anything else turned readily available, she under no circumstances heard from them once again.

In the end, she had far better luck with the housing lottery.

$ | East New York, Brooklyn

Hire: The apartment’s $931 month-to-month lease is covered totally by a rental help voucher, as Ms. Compact is staying home to care for her daughter through the pandemic.
Occupation: Right up until the pandemic, she was a routine maintenance worker at New York City Office of Parks and Recreation and the Sanitation Division.
She likes the space: “It’s not way too rah-rah, not also rowdy. No one’s hanging out on the techniques, using tobacco.”
The only point lacking: A deli. “That’s the only issue I obtained a challenge with,” she explained. “The developing subsequent doorway, they should place a deli there.”
Her foreseeable future decorating ideas: contain painting. “I’m drained of white walls,” Ms. Little stated. “I’d like a great purple, not too darkish.”

Previous March, she gained a contact from the Fountains, a blended-use enhancement in East New York, Brooklyn, crafted by the Arker Businesses, which will at some point have 1,163 models of affordable housing. The first period of the project experienced just been concluded, and she was invited to come in for an job interview and tour.

She tried not to get also energized. “Everything was shutting down since of Covid-19. I believed I’d be in the shelter for one more year,” she mentioned. “But then, two days right after I observed the apartment, they identified as me and stated, ‘You bought recognized.’ I started screaming.”

“It was the conclude to the wrestle,” she claimed, of “me becoming in the shelter and obtaining absent from him.”

In Could, she moved into a just one-bed room apartment that rents for $931 a month she pays $400, with the remainder covered by a rental aid voucher. When educational institutions shut down and she had to leave her task to take care of Keandra, her lease dropped to nothing at all. (With the uncertainty of in-man or woman lessons, Ms. Little has been unable to go back to operate.)

The condominium is the initially home for which Ms. Compact and Keandra have been in a position to pick out home furnishings and decorate. “I in no way experienced my personal furnishings prior to,” Ms. Little reported. “At my last apartment, nothing was mine all the things was his, his, his. In this article, I had a tiny assisting hand from my family members. Anyone was fired up that I remaining him and that this is my very first crib by myself.”

Ms. Smaller took the living area as her bedroom and gave her daughter the apartment’s massive bedroom, which Keandra decorated with her considerable selection of “Frozen”-motion picture-themed things: She has a “Frozen” rug, bedsheets, desk and chairs.

“I needed Keandra to have her possess space. I also like that I can have peace of mind in my home,” she said. “At the shelter, we experienced home inspection and curfew. I just required to be absolutely free of all the things.”

Other than for the persons, she extra, with whom she stays in touch working with Zoom.

At her new developing, she has managed to make a handful of friends in the midst of the pandemic, but not the way she did at the shelter.

“I was like a superstar there absolutely everyone likes my electricity,” she reported. “I make people chuckle and smile when they are down. I’m like a large, goofy child at heart.”