Madison365 is proud to be the Media Sponsor of A Fund for Women’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, October 9.
Chara Taylor and her husband brought their four boys to Madison from Chicago in 2011, mainly for safety.
“We wanted to put them in an environment where they have more of a chance to thrive than die,” she says. Despite everything that’s happened since then, she still thinks it was the right decision and she still loves Madison — perhaps, in fact, because of what happened.
“We were living in an apartment, a two bedroom apartment. Kinda tight, but we made it work,” she says. “And one day we got a notice from our landlord. Well, a notice was put in the hallway by our landlord that we were not being renewed the next month, so we needed to be out.”
She wasn’t sure why (though later learned that the building was changing ownership and the new owners wanted to bring in new tenants). All she knew was the family had only 28 days to be out.
“During that period we were trying to find something on our own, but we really didn’t know anybody,” Taylor remembers. “My husband had a job, I was a stay at home mom, so we didn’t have a whole lot of money. And we had just paid the rent. So, when you’re on that check to check, you don’t have enough for a deposit at the next place because you just paid rent to this place. I was so scared, but I couldn’t act like that because I got kids who are looking at me and I got husband that’s looking at me. I felt like I couldn’t contribute, at least financially, to what we were going through. ”
Chara and the children went back to Illinois to stay with her parents for a few weeks until a room opened up at the Salvation Army in Madison, and luckily, shortly thereafter, a place opened up at The Road Home, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing “opportunities for homeless children and their families to achieve self-determined goals and affordable, stable housing,” according to the organization’s website.
“It could have been devastating,” she says. “It really could have been. And had they not been the way they were, it still could have been. I just love everybody at the Road Home. I am like their biggest fan. Because they really care, you know. I’m in a town I don’t know. My family’s not here, my normal backups. It was me, my husband, and our five kids.” (The couple’s fifth child and only daughter was born after they moved to Madison.)
The Road Home is one of many local organizations that receives funding from A Fund For Women, a fund housed at the Madison Community Foundation. Chara Taylor will tell her story at A Fund For Women’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on October 9 at the Edgewater Hotel. Tickets are available now until September 28.
“The Road Home is an essential nonprofit in our community, creating housing and hope for families facing the most difficult situations,” says Tom Linfield, Vice President of Community Impact. “Together with our donors, Madison Community Foundation has proudly supported their effective programs through nearly $2 million in grants from A Fund for Women and many other funds.”
The Taylor family only stayed at The Road Home for a month, but the effect of that month has gone on literally for years.
Counsellors from The Road Home, in partnership with Dane County’s Rapid Rehousing program, found the family an apartment in a good family-friendly neighborhood, and then six months later helped Chara get a job and arrange childcare. Help from The Road Home got the family so solidly on its feet, in fact, that when the same thing happened again two years later — their apartment building was sold and they had 28 days to move — the family was able to work through it themselves.
“Because of everything that they had done for us, we kinda had those resources so we didn’t need to lean on them as much, so we found the other apartment on our own,” Taylor says. “They fostered that self-sufficiency. To know that you can be self-sufficient and know that you can handle things on your own, but to know that you have some backup so that if things don’t work out you’ve got somebody that’s going to be there, that’s going to be in your corner.”
They’ve been in their current apartment for two years, and just signed a lease for another year. It’s not even an apartment, really, but a townhouse.
“It’s probably the nicest apartment that my husband and I have ever had,” Taylor says. “It’s better than the last one, which was better than the first one.”
Taylor says she’s grateful to A Fund For Women especially for its support of organizations like The Road Home not the least because a lot of women go through situations like hers on their own.
“Not everybody is as fortunate as me. Most of the women in the program, while we were in both Salvation Army and The Road Home, didn’t have husbands, they didn’t have that in-house support, so they needed the support of the Road Home, A Fund for Women, Salvation Army, the YWCA,” she says. “I don’t care what people say, it’s important. It really is, to know that there are other women who have gone through what you are going through or who care enough to try to help you through what you’re going through. I found that at The Road Home.”
Chara Taylor will appear with other women who’ve found support in programs funded by A Fund For Women at the fund’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, October 9 from 5 to 8 pm at The Edgewater Hotel. Tickets are $85 each or $650 for a table of eight. Tickets are available until September 28. Madison365 is proud to be the Media Sponsor of A Fund For Women’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.