Good things happen to good people

May 4, 2021

By Cathy Stuehmeier

Good things do happen to good people, and so it is for Felicia Orta, a young single mother of two. As a resident of Marion County Housing Authority, Felicia took advantage of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) offered through HUD. She set her goals and followed through to provide a better life for her young family. The reward in the end was a $9,500 escrow payment which she intends to use as a down payment on a home of her own.

Today Felicia and her children have a good life because, as she put it, “I choose to have a good life.” She utilized HUD housing which helped her get through school. Her goals were to work with children, be a good mom, enhance the lives of others, and be self sufficient.

Her attitude is, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” And that quality — which I admired — was apparent throughout the interview.

I could see where her story could inspire other young moms to be on the right side of statistics. Marion County Housing Authority offers a sliding scale, income-based rent opportunity depending solely on income and family size. Many of the tenants are on fixed income like Social Security and Disability.

In Felicia’s case the opportunity gave her the ability to change her young family’s lives by offering her — as well as others — affordable, safe and sanitary housing along with a chance to work with the escrow program dollar for dollar.

Felicia Orta enrolled in the FSS program on May 1, 2017. During her participation in the HCV Program Felicia was consistently employed and working to better her future for herself and her children. While a single mother of two children, she went to school, worked long hours, and continued to increase her income. Felicia worked various jobs, always moving forward with every job she worked. She worked at South Central Transit, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Centralia City Schools. She was recently hired at the Illinois Department of Human Services where her income has increased to make her over income for the program.

She’s now able to provide the same services that were provided to her. She’s also teaching a financial literacy class at a local church.

Congratulations, Felicia, and a big thank you to Marion County Housing Authority for all you do in providing safe, affordable and sanitary housing in Salem, Centralia, Odin, Sandoval, Alma, Patoka and Kinmundy. For more information call the Housing Authority at 618-532-1894.

Above left is Marion County Housing Authority Executive Director Kelly Tinsley presenting a check to Felicia Orta.

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