Many people think gratefully of the teachers whose lessons they remember, and whose inspiration has given them the strength to succeed.

As a teacher of both nature science and art, Esther Roldan has been enriching the lives of her students for many years.

When asked what she loves most about teaching, Esther responds that it’s about “always learning something new”.

However, despite teaching part-time at two schools in addition to working at a dental office, when Esther began looking for safe and affordable housing in Fort Lauderdale, she learned something that many others in the area have also discovered.

In Esther’s words, “It’s really tough to find an apartment in South Florida. I was looking everywhere.”

However, good fortune brought her to meeting with the South Florida Community Land Trust, who she worked with to obtain the duplex where she has now lived for the last three years.

For an art teacher, the duplex is ideal.

“There are two rooms. I have an art room which is great. I love it! I am able to fit all my tools and paint there, and there is space outside to work,” she explains.

South Florida Community Land Trust is a nonprofit corporation that develops and preserves affordable housing in South Florida. It is one of the few organizations in South Florida that is focused on creating a permanent source of affordable housing and their mission is to help South Florida residents like Esther afford a home without compromising on safety or quality.

Ms. Roldan, who is now engaged to be married, gives high praise, “I’ve had a great experience. I love my neighbors, we’re a team.”

Yet with the COVID-19 pandemic, change is happening every day, all around the world. Once again, like many others, Esther has found herself faced with financial challenges. She has been laid off from her jobs, and her fiance’s hours have been reduced as well.

She shares, “We are backed up on rent. I’m backed up on everything right now.”

Esther is afraid of the future, and the possibility of “losing everything”. She voices her fears saying, “If you don’t have money to pay, you will probably start losing stuff. I could go to pantries to help with food, but it’s still concerning.”

South Florida Community Land Trust hopes to provide additional support for Esther and others like her in the community by creating a fund to help with food, electricity and other payments during this time. Your support can help these families.

So far, Esther manages to stay hopeful, finding her silver lining by working on lesson plans and teaching strategies, helping her parents, and fixing things around the house.