Helping a Lakewood family to stay off the streets.

Susie doesn’t fit my stereo-types about homeless people. She has got a college degree and is used to working two jobs at a high-paying employer in town. She’s used to having enough, she lives in a middle-class town amongst middle class neighbors.

But when Susie came to our office in April 2010 she was facing the reality of being evicted from her apartment and moving into her car with her daughter while struggling with chronic depression. You see, she’d lost her second job and had been placed on disability at her primary employer. Things looked really bad, little did she know things would get worse before they got better.

We were able to enroll Susie and her family in the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP), a program that is designed to help families through rental and utility assistance when they fall behind because of economic hardship.

Susie was able to remain in her apartment with her children and with some coaching from Staci, her case manager (pictured above), she learned more about her rights as a renter. Empowered, Susie was able to work with her landlord to lower her monthly rental payments. Things were looking good. But then Susie was laid off by her primary employer.

I thank God that Staci was there to help, encouraging Susie to remain steadfast in her attempt to find a new place of employment, providing the family with just enough financial help to remain stable and housed.

The good news came today. After only a few months without work, Susie was offered a new position with her old employer. She’s following a monthly budget and housing sustainability plan, she has been able to cut costs and locate other community resources that weren’t previously accessible to her.

Susie’s family is going to be safe from the streets. We are so thankful for this innovative program that provides financial and emotional support to families who are not used to the difficulties this economy is presenting all of us with.