I have four children, and the two whom I raised as a Solo Mom are now adults. The three of us remember their childhood with fondness, but our financial situation was frightening. I can still feel the despair of staring at my checkbook, wondering what I was going to do. I did drastic things—such as sell my eggs to put braces on my oldest. I also did things that were less drastic, such as apply for an energy subsidy, accept the kindness of a friend who stocked me with cans from the food pantry, and learn how to budget. There were options I didn’t know to pursue or chose not to pursue—but should have. I loved being a Solo Mom, but we were always one car trouble, one illness, one too many needs away from homelessness. To this day, I am still problem solving my money issues from those days. I catch myself thinking, Why didn’t I know about that? I should have done this. What was I thinking when I said no to that? I don’t have access to a time machine, so I can’t go back and help my past self. As ESME’s Public Assistance Resource Guide, though, I can help you, and I very much look forward to doing so.

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