Thirty-seven-year-old Donta Steele is a hard-working dad, and longtime resident of Cincinnati with big dreams for himself and his three teenage sons. He came to Santa Maria in spring 2021 with the goal of obtaining affordable housing for himself and his oldest son, Elisha Lee-16, who resides with him. He also had hopes of expanding his job opportunities and skills. Donta began working with former Santa Maria Stable Families Coordinator, Molly Swaidan, last year, and recently began working with our Stable Families Case Manager, Francesca Phillis.
Santa Maria was able to help Donta find a job that has a flexible work schedule and good pay. His new job as a Home Depot Associate has afforded him many new skills like painting and home repair. He is using those skills to his advantage. Francesca said, “He is actually asking his landlord if he can make repairs in other units to receive credit for his rent, which would help improve his monthly budget.”
With Santa Maria’s help, Donta was also able to obtain affordable housing through the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). Utilizing funds provided by the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association (GCNKAA), Santa Maria was able to help him with his deposit and first three months’ rent. When Donta needed furniture for his new place, Francesca was able to connect him with New Life Furniture Bank where he was able to acquire furniture to make his home warm and nurturing. Santa Maria helped Donta gain stability in his life with food assistance, and enabled him to pursue new opportunities through the gift of a new laptop and educational resources.
Donta’s real passion lies in fatherhood. He is the father of three teenage boys. “I love how Donta is so involved with his children’s lives!,” said Francesca. “He makes time for their extracurricular activities while talking with them about the importance of getting an education and striving for more in life. Donta’s unconditional support and love for his children is amazing.” Donta would love to see all of his sons graduate from high school and move on to higher education.
“Donta’s enthusiasm for change is contagious,” said Francesca. “Donta is motivated and driven to enhance the quality of life for him and his children. He is very open to ideas and suggestions and gained enough confidence to advocate for himself when necessary.” He continues to meet with Francesca monthly to create action plans for the goals that he sets for himself, and he hopes to one day become a barber.
“I am very appreciative of Molly and Francesca.” Donta reflected. “You can’t go wrong with these ladies!” He said Francesca is always making sure she is helping to her full ability, and he very much appreciates the support he’s received from Santa Maria. “They will always have your back and are willing to help you as long as you are sure of what you want.”