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STARTING NEW

Family reflects on their time in shelter


Entering shelter is a traumatic and scary experience. Families can feel vulnerable, uncertain of their future and as though they have completely failed their children and themselves. While homelessness is its own trauma it was often preceded by another traumatic experience. Moving into their own home is a significant day. It is a day of healing, hope with a sense of accomplishment. Today a family who recently moved out of shelter shares their insights into the experience. No doubt as they gain more distance from the experience they will gain additional insights but in this blog they explain where they are today. 


  • What were the circumstances which brought you to Family Promise?

The circumstances that brought us to Family Promise was lack of income due to loss of employment.  This resulted in us exhausting our savings and facing an eviction.  After being evicted our family used the resources we had in order to stay in a hotel, Airbnb, and our vehicle.  During this time I reached out to non-profit organizations in the community to check on available openings for emergency housing. Though all were full, Courtney with Family Promise placed us on a waitlist.

  

Eventually, a decision was made for our family to split.  I and the children stayed with family, while my husband continued to stay in our vehicle.  While in his vehicle he continued to apply for jobs, interview, and do side jobs in the area while in expectation of securing a new job.


Fortunately, we were contacted by Courtney and accepted into the apartment shelter.


  • In what ways has Family Promise supported you?

Family Promise has supported us in the following ways:


  1. Provided a fully furnished apartment shelter for our family which helped to provide stability

  2. Provided household and personal essentials

  3. Provided information about other community resources, as well as Food Share and Equus

  4. Gifted our family with Christmas gifts

  5. Allowed us to save once employment was secured

  6. Extended the Bridges program to us while we were working through legal matters and applying for permanent housing

  7. Assisted us with funding to go towards our vehicle, gift cards for gas and food

  8. Provided encouragement


  • What challenges did you face and how did you navigate them?

This whole experience of experiencing homelessness was a challenge in itself.  Going from upper middle income to below poverty just seemed so unreal, but it happened in a spiraling effect with a loss of employment, loss of income, and not being able to pay housing expenses, then resulting in homelessness and having to leave furniture and household items behind.  


Once my husband secured employment the next challenge was finding permanent housing.  Though our family had secured employment with a consistent income, our credit score was low and an eviction was still on our record, resulting in housing application denials. To navigate this, we sought legal counsel and were able to get the eviction vacated. This opened the door for getting applications accepted and our family finding a new home. 


Another challenge was food expenses.  To navigate decreasing our expenses on food we utilized the local food pantries. They were all wonderful, but at times it was taxing to wait in lines and outside.  Fortunately, we were able to apply to Foodshare and get accepted, which was a great help.


  • How have you grown as a family through this experience? 

Our experience was very humbling and an eye opener on how a family’s stability can change drastically and unexpectedly.  We have learned to work together, as well as not take things for granted.  For me personally, this experience has allowed me to see the importance of organizations such as Family Promise in our communities. The grants and donations they receive in order to help individuals and families is much needed and truly a blessing.


  • What gives you hope for the future? 

Anyone can go through such an experience as ours or another experience that alters their life. Our faith and trust in God, commitment and love to each other and our children, as well as re-evaluating our finances and putting a plan together to avoid this experience gives us hope for the future. We were truly stretched and did what was needed to make it this far.

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