Getting Back to the Normal

Jul 15, 2016

by David Levine, President/CEO

So many of our clients experience a one-time, once-in-a-lifetime event.  Without a sufficient financial cushion, this event becomes catastrophic, even costing them their housing.

Our Emergency Services Coordinator Patricia recently shared with me the story of Ricky.  A father of two small children, and the main breadwinner for his family, Ricky lost his job in November 2015 and was not eligible for unemployment benefits. Ricky did odd jobs to make ends meet, but soon fell behind on the household bills.

Then, as often happens, a utility disconnection notice arrived — followed a day later by an eviction notice.  GSH helped pay the utility bill; and then coordinated assistance with other providers to stop the eviction.

The upshot is: Ricky and his family stayed in their housing.  The next week, Ricky found a full-time job as an electrician with paid training.  The family will remain where it is; and their one-time housing-related crisis has been averted.

For Tenickia, who previously taught school in Fairfax County, the once-in-a-lifetime event was “financial abuse” caused by her husband.  Her husband could not hold employment, meaning Tenickia was left to pay all the household bills and rent.  By the time she left her husband, her credit had been ruined and her housing options were limited.

In a recent article about Tenickia for StreetSense — a DC-based newspaper centered on poverty and homelessness issues — the reporter noted that she had to stay with family, moving from one house to another for months. At that time, GSH stepped up and provided her an affordable rental unit.

As Tenickia said to the reporter, “Before the marriage, I had pretty good credit.  Good Shepherd Housing was very key.  All I needed was an opportunity to build up that credit.”

Tenickia is now stably housed.  Like Ricky, she found a way back to a normal and prosperous day-to-day life.