Talema’s Story

Talema has been a caregiver for most of her life. “I helped raise my sister so my mom could work, and then I helped raise the other two [siblings].” Later, she became a mother of two children, a daughter and a son with autism.

When her children were young, her then-boyfriend became physically and emotionally abusive, which resulted in the Department of Children and Family Services removing her children from their home and placing them in foster care.

“With all of that going on, it gave me the strength to get away from that situation. It’s a hard situation to get out of. It’s harder to get out of that type of relationship than a lot of people realize. I learned from that and can only move forward,” says Talema.

Talema courageously left her boyfriend and regained custody of her daughter. Getting her son back, however, was more challenging because she first needed to secure an accessible home since her son is a wheelchair user.

“I think where I’m at right now in my life is probably the proudest, I’ve been in a while,” Tamela, with her son, shared.

New Home. New Beginning.

Fortunately, Talema learned that an accessible home was available at Mercy Housing Lakefront’s Alexandria Manor located in Alexandria, Indiana. When her application was accepted, her son was reunited with his family, and they moved into their Mercy Housing Lakefront home, where they have lived for 18 years.

As a single mother and full-time caregiver for her son, Talema is grateful for her home’s affordability and stability. “[Affordable housing] is a lifeline for a lot of a lot of people in general, but especially parents who are struggling. Just knowing they can afford a roof over their children’s heads, I mean, it makes a big difference,” shares Talema.

Helping Young Adults with Disabilities

She also appreciates Mercy Housing Lakefront’s commitment to improving and maintaining the quality of her home and community. “There’s been a lot of improvements to the property, so that has been helpful too because for one, they put on new roofs and new windows that help our utility bills. Plus, it shows that they care about the property and the residents.”

While Talema’s daughter is now 26 and has her own home, Talema’s son, 24, continues to live with her due to his care needs. During the day her son attends an adult day care, which has enabled Talema to work outside the home as a home health aide, helping young adults with disabilities access their community. “I think where I’m at right now in my life is probably the proudest I’ve been in a while. So just me being back working makes me proud of myself…even though I’m working, my rent still isn’t as high as it would have to be if I lived elsewhere. When I’m working my rent’s higher, but if I was to lose my job or something I still have that roof over my son’s head.”