Many more families than usual have struggled during the past few years due to the country’s economic downturn. Americans have been confronted with unprecedented challenges like the loss of jobs, difficulty in paying bills, and home foreclosures.
Michelle and her teenage son, John, are among local families who faced the unthinkable. With Michele employed by the federal government, they lived quite comfortably and had acquired a healthy, reasonable financial safety net. Michelle felt prepared for some challenges, but like so many, she never imagined she would lose her job – and shortly thereafter, her safety net.
With no paycheck and no more reserves, she and John could no longer maintain their home. They faced foreclosure. Michelle described the sequence of events as “very humbling experience.” She turned to her church for guidance and support. The congregation rallied to help the family. One family in the congregation opened their home and allowed Michelle and her son to live with them for a few months while she searched for employment. The job search was longer than Michelle expected and rather exhausting. Although she received a few invitations to interview, she was never contacted for employment.
Michelle was forced to re-examine her circumstances and realized that rebuilding her life would take longer than expected. She felt her options were dwindling, and anxiety set in, Michelle sensed there was nowhere to turn. She then stumbled across information about Hope House and said she “prayed and turned it over to God.” Like so many of us, Michelle struggled with her pride. She always had considered herself self-sufficient and independent; making a decision to seek assistance was excruciating for her.
The family entered Hope House; although the transition was not an easy one, Michelle and John settled into the community living. She volunteered as a senior companion and John maintained an “A” average in school. Michelle completed countless applications and eventually landed employment in the business management field. As a Hope House resident, she developed a goal plan and achieved success on all her efforts. She also went through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Program, offered by Hope House, and incorporated the ideals into her everyday living. Michelle continued to triumph. She secured a second job at a local retail store and saved money aggressively. Through her budget plan, she was active in targeting her debt. She encouraged her son to watch the Dave Ramsey program, and he began focusing on saving as well. He also obtained part-time employment.
Within 14 months of entering Hope House, Michelle and John graduated and transitioned to their own dwelling. They received from Hope House their first month’s rent, security deposit, and furnishings. As the family thrives in its new environment, their story continues. Hope House is providing six months of support services for stability and to maintain a successful transition. Simply put, Hope House programming provides comfort and a catalyst – a safe place for homeless women and children and an opportunity for achievement.