When Amajhalay Williams entered foster care at 5, she left behind what she describes as an abusive mother who struggled with substance abuse.
“She was there physically, but she wasn’t there mentally,” says Williams, now 20. “Her abusiveness got not one kid, but four different kids taken away. She just wasn’t in the right head. She just wasn’t a fit parent unfortunately, and me being firstborn, I just happened to get it the worst.”
But foster care also meant more instability for Williams, who lived in 21 foster homes and about five group homes during her youth.
Now Williams, who is Dominican American, lives at a hotel that has been converted into apartment housing in downtown Sacramento. The apartment owner receives funding through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which is administered by the Internal Revenue Service. As a result, the building is required to set aside some units for lower-income households, which means those earning less than 50% or 60% of the area median income.