Participant Profile: Zinida

“I’ve always received blessings. I’ve needed them to get ahead over the years, and I’m just so grateful for this one. It’s helping me and my family so much.”



Zinida has put her heart and soul into raising her three children these last 23 years. When the kids were younger, she would take the bus from the far south side up to her retail job in Lakeview – a more than hourlong commute each way. One of those many blessings came for Zinida four years ago when her employer opened a location down the street from her apartment in Englewood.

The shorter commute made for extra time to add a second job to her schedule. She now works overnights for her primary full-time retail job and puts in a couple of additional 8-hour shifts at a dollar store on what would be her days off.

The two paychecks help pay the rent and make ends meet, but not much else. It also removes her from eligibility for most public benefits.


 "We don't get SNAP or anything like that, but it works out with all of us working together. My oldest has a new job now, and my daughter helps babysit the youngest. We make it work."


And now with support from the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, ‘making it work’ is just a little easier. That very first $500 monthly payment helped the family catch up on utility bills, with just enough left over to enjoy a movie night.

“In that first month a huge burden was already lifted. It’s a lot to have that hanging over your head when you’re trying to raise a family. This puts me so much farther ahead already.”

Her focus is now on removing the rest of her debt and repairing her credit. There isn’t much, and she believes that her balances will be paid down well before the end of the pilot – a goal that otherwise could have taken years.

And after that? Zinida hopes to spend some real quality time together with her family. If she can continue to budget properly, she believes she’ll be able to take her kids on their first vacation in almost six years.

“I still can’t believe that I’m a part of this. You know, I’ve cried and thanked God more than a few times for this blessing. We all work so hard around here, and it’s all for the greatest cause in my life – for my kids. It will be so nice to get some extra quality time with them before they are all grown.”


Woman holding up graduation photo.