Single mother gets ‘blessing’ after being laid off

Nichelle Lacy only had three days’ notice before she was laid off at White River Transportation.Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 12.03.49 PM

The single mom was handling a work assignment in September when her boss broke the bad news — the Pleasanton office was shutting down, and she would soon collect her last paycheck.

Her last paycheck was $800. From that point on, Lacy’s finances became a mathematical equation that never seemed to end. She spent $300 paying off the loan she took on one of her two vehicles. Lacy’s thinking was that if she ran out of money, she could always sell that car — but then it stopped working.

That left $500 for everything else. And the bills were plentiful: food, electricity, Internet, cell-phone service and her 13-year-old daughter’s braces. There was not enough money left over to come close to paying her monthly rent.

“What am I going to do? How am I going to survive?” were just a few of her thoughts when she came home after losing her job. Telling her two daughters was even harder. Middle school student Amani Dees found out first, and a few weeks later, Lacy spilled the news to her eldest child, who is going to college in Minnesota.

“My daughters know me, and they can see the look on my face when something is troubling me,” Lacy said.

The 47-year-old had struggled to find a place to rent before finding her two-bedroom apartment in Hayward, because she has a bad credit history.

Lacy lived in motels, switching locations every two weeks, right before a credit check. She landed the Hayward apartment about three years ago after co-workers vouched for how responsible she is. But the loss of her job caused Lacy to miss October’s rent. She was in danger of becoming homeless again.

That’s when The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund helped improve Lacy’s situation. The fund paid for her rent for October and November, giving the single mom enough time to look for work. When she found out the news, she burst into tears of joy.

“It was a blessing,” Lacy said.

Lacy is hunting for her next position and is sending out six or seven applications a week. She has more than 21 years of experience in the transportation industry, and at her last job, she performed a variety of tasks, including accounting, assisting her manager and setting up customer appointments.

She hopes she can find work soon so that she can afford Christmas gifts for her daughters.

“It’s kind of hard because I don’t know if I’m going to have a job,” Lacy said. “The only thing I can do is decorate and try to keep our spirits up.”

 

Wendy Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. She can be reached by e-mail at wlee@sfchronicle.com

The original article can be found here.