Doren Dansby, who earned her pharmacy technician certificate during her period of near homelessness, used her voucher to rent an apartment in Black Ridge. (Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

It was one of the coldest February days when the furnace in Doren Dansby’s building broke. Soon after, the electricity in her Mount Oliver apartment started going offline for daylong spells. The landlord, who spoke little English, couldn’t tell Dansby when either would be fixed. She knew she and her 9-year-old son had to get out.

“I kept calling 211,” Dansby, 28, recalls. “I kept calling and telling them it was 17 degrees and we had no heat and my son has ADHD and epilepsy.”

It was early 2016. Dansby worked at a Walgreens, training to become a pharmacy technician. She didn’t have money for first month’s rent or a security deposit on a new place.


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