Put Illinois to Work was able to put Martavion Terry to work, and she has been able to maintain her employment to take care of her family.

Terry is a 24-year-old single mother who was living in a transitional shelter called New Moms, located in the Austin neighborhood. The organization helped find her an internship funded by Put Illinois To Work, the state-run jobs program.

She started working as a coordinator at Alternatives, Inc., a youth organization. In July, she was able to live on her own and moved into an apartment for the first time.

Terry said the funding in her program already ended, but she was hired part-time.

“I was one of the lucky ones who got hired, but it makes me sad for my friends because I know they’re going to struggle,” she said. “It’s sort of devastating.”

She was one of the more than 20,000 people to get hired through the subsidized job program available to welfare recipients. Put Illinois to Work started in May with federal stimulus funds and was set to expire last Thursday. Gov. Pat Quinn, however, extended it for two more months by using state funds, giving Terry and others on the program temporary relief.

Marissa Johnson, a 31-year-old mother of four, was able to rent a three-bedroom home in Pullman last summer because she was employed at a nonprofit organization, thanks to Put Illinois to Work. It is the first place she has been able to call her own.

“The extension came right on time, because I’m not sure how I’m going to make ends meet otherwise,” Johnson said.

She grew up in Englewood, and prior to renting the home where she lives, she moved around, living with family members and her husband. Recently separated, she started supporting herself with help from the program.

“This is the first house that I ever rented on my own,” she said. “I just love the area, my kids are safe, and we have a stable roof over our heads.”