Holly’s Story

Holly finds freedom and a voice to champion others who need a home

My name is Holly. I am turning 26 on Christmas day. I have autism and this is the first time I’m living on my own. I always thought I was going to struggle and I always thought that I wouldn’t have been able to make it on my own due to my disability and the problems that I had all throughout my life—and being away from my parents in an environment that would give me more freedom. I never thought I could do it, but here I am on my own. I’m paying all my bills, I’m two and a half months ahead on my rent, working on paying for December. My landlord is great. Moving in and having my own place is great. To have your own space. You get to do whatever you want, have people over whenever you want, binge-watch tv, and not have to have anybody tell you to change the channel. It has been so great.

When I made the decision to live independently, I met Sandra at the Housing Authority and she helped me fill out the section eight voucher. She went to the briefing and helped me look for apartments. I chose the second place I looked at. Sandra was very considerate of applying to places and neighborhoods with me in mind. I can’t thank her enough, and actually can’t believe I have housing at all. They also paid for the pet deposit for my apartment. Having that companionship was so important. here I am with my 19-week-year-old kitty named Buttercup.

Today, I’m feeling content. I feel secure and I know if something happens in regards to my housing or something like that, I can count on Sandra and United Way. I know I have the support that I need. I am so grateful to United Way for the funding that has supported me and the Housing Connector program.

For others who are struggling with housing, I wish I could just give them a hug. You know, I feel for them. But I want them to know it’s a long road because I waited a while. Just know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and there’s actual housing. Sandra Nesbitt is there, United Way is there and they are there to help you, truly there to help you.

Thanks to the generous support of United Way donors, United Way helps people like Holly receive support to live independently. United Way provides funds to the Allegheny County Housing Connector, a collaborative pilot project to help individuals with disabilities find affordable, appropriate housing.