Testimonials of Stepping In, Stepping Up, and Stepping Forward

Client Testimonials of Stepping In, Stepping Up, and Stepping Forward

sunFebruary 2016 - Heather's Story: Do you ever wonder how is my support making a difference?  Who am I really helping?  Families just like Heather’s are being touched by your care and support.  Together we are giving opportunities of greatness!  Read some of Heather’s story here:  “People don’t grow up hoping to become a drug addict and homeless, but it happens anyway.  I grew up in a good home, was an all-start athlete, had good grades, lots of a friends and a bright future ahead of me.  At the age of 18 one bad choice one day is all it took to lead me down a path towards a grave instead of that bright future.  Sadly drugs came into my life which started as having a little harmless fun with the thought that I would not get addicted because I was stronger than that.  I could not have been more wrong!  That path turned me into a full blown heroin addict at the age of 21.  For the next couple of years I became a mom to two sweet little boys but that didn’t stop my addictions.  I lost my home, broke the trust of my family and friends, and I destroyed relationships with people who loved and cared for me the most.  I knew that smart, hard-working girl was deep down inside me still but I couldn’t find her in a constant state of being high.  The only time I didn’t use drugs was during my pregnancies but would relapse with the use of pain medications from delivery as soon as my boys were born.  I just kept making decisions that were sure to seal my fate.  Finally in 2012 I made yet another bad choice out of desperation which landed me in prison for almost two years.  How did this happen?  I had never been in trouble ever before in my life - I was going to be something great - how did I end up living in my van with my kids putting drugs first.  Getting arrested was really a blessing in disguise that saved our lives.  I am proud to say 2012 was the last time I let the devil enter my veins.  When I was released in 2014 all I had to my name was $68.00 and a garbage bag of clothes and years of regrets.  I was able to move into Alice’s House until I could find a place to live.  I prayed someone would give me a chance to redeem myself to see that I was a good person and found my way back to that girl.  I worked hard to find a job and applied for the temporary housing program at Housing Opportunities.  Finally on this long rugged path I have a place to feel safe again.  I was accepted into the program and worked with my case manager to maintain my employment and work on repairing my relationship with my children.  Of all the mistakes I made the one that hurts the most is knowing what my kids had to go through and missing out on precious time with them. HO guided me in more ways than I can count.  I was able to transition into their low-income housing program and had a  stable home again.  Thanks to that move I was able to regain custody of my boys and start our life as a family.  It would have been easy for people, organizations, and businesses to look at me and say we aren’t going to help you or take a chance on you.  They could have said to me that I made a choice to go down the wrong path and I don’t deserve a second chance to get on the right path.  I can’t say how thankful I am that my boss, my counselor, Housing Opportunities, and so many others saw me as a human being worth a shot at making things right.  Today I have been clean and sober for three years, I am a responsible employee, I pay my bills on time, I have a loving relationship with my children and my family has welcomed me back into their lives with open arms.  None of this would have been possible without a roof over my head and reassurance from my case manager.  Thank you to the staff and to everyone who supports Housing Opportunities, your support lifted me up and gave me a chance at a path of greatness.”  Love, Heather  

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 Devin's Story:  It was the summer between Devin's 5th and 6th grade year in school and his family was experiencing homelessness.  He had struggled to complete elementary school and was facing the idea of a larger and more difficult middle school.  While other 5th graders were excited about their upcoming summer vacation, Devin was worrying about basic necessities of life....food, clothes, shelter.  That summer Devin's mom stepped into Housing Opportunities, alogn with Devin and his two younger twin brothers, to fill out an application for HO's permanent supportive housing program.  This program serves current Porter County and Laporte County residents who are facing homelessness and have a diagnosed disability.  His mom's disability played a major role in their situation which lead to their homelessness.  Devin's family was accepted into our program and moved into a real home.  Devin was able to focus on being a kid again and was ready to take on middle school.  Housing Opportunities was able to provide not only a safe home for Devin's family, but they also received regular case management to help connect their family to communinty resources.  Devin's mom received life-skills training, budget classes, and they were ale to utlize the food pantry at HO thanks to volunteers who run the pantry.  Devin and his family stepped up by working hard to overcome their barriers.  For the next several years Devin poured his heart and soul into school work and his future.  He had a clear goal in sight.  Thi spast spring Devin's hard work paid off as he graduated from high school with excellent grades.  He now has a new set of goals - he has joined the Army and one day will be pursuing an engineering degree at Purdue University.  Along the way HO learned that Devin was a first generation high school graduate.  When asked what he thought about that he replied - "I know that without a stable home and the support from my family and Housing Opportunities I would not have been successful in setting and reaching my goals."  Devin recently graduated from boot camp and just received word that as of February he will be stationed at Fort Lee in Louisiana.  He will begin studying diesel mechancis and will continue pursuing his ultimate goal of attending Purdue University.  He has been a great role model for his younger brothers and we are sure they will be doing great things soon!  

sunK.P.s Story:  After being married for 22 years my world was turned upside-down.  I was facing an unexpected divorce, the only option I saw for a better life for myself and my 8-year-old daughter.  I knew it wouldn't be easy but I wasn't prepared for just how hard it was.  With nowhere to turn my mom took us in but this meant my daughter had to start over at a new school.  I worked to try to keep everything as stable and scheduled for her as possible, a new school was not what I wanted for her.  Shortly after, my two older sons also moved in with us causing an overcrowding in our household.  We all tried to respect each other's space and make the best of our situation while searching for the silver lining on a very dark cloud that loomed over us.  There were times I felt that I had nothing to look forward to – no hope left.  I had created stress for my parents and children due to decisions I made in my life.  Sometimes we hurt the ones we love by taking out our frustrations on them and I did just that.  I took my anger that I had because I couldn't provide for my children out on my own mother who was there to help.  I left my mom with no choice but to ask me to find other living arrangements.  We were facing living in my car when a friend took me to Housing Opportunities.  We applied for housing and felt so welcome there.  I wanted so badly to get into their program and I decided I needed to do something NOW!  I got a job which qualified me for their low-income program. I got the call that they had an apartment ready for me.  This apartment was a new start, a new outlook on life!  I started to rebuild my relationship with my parents and they were there with me when I moved into my own place!  We have been in the apartment for a couple of months now and we love it.  My daughter is making new friends and adjusting so well.  We are happier than we have ever been.  It made me realize all the guilt I carried about my decisions in life was void – I took that step to better our lives and it was the best decision I have ever made despite the hard road we had to travel for this journey.  I can't thank my family, friends, and Housing Opportunities enough for standing by us and offering support!            Thanks - K.P.

sunI just wanted to share with you what a wonderful blessing Housing Opportunities has been, and how grateful I am for the existence of such a place. I was overwhelmed with the pressure of not being able to find adequate work to support my family along with the seriousness of being evicted in February 2012.  I prayed and cried and prayed and cried out for some kind of help. As I begin to entertain the thought of quitting or giving up hope, full of anxiety... something happened.  The Lord sent us a ray of hope through Housing Opportunities. I was encouraged and motivated by the information I was given - I could have a temporary place to live!  I saw this as a promising potential that my situation would improve through the resources available there.  I was introduced to my case manager and advocate through HO.  Together we have forged a rewarding pathway of hope with the Lords help, as I acquired several opportunities each week. HO provided me with support and encouragement to overcome any challenges that seemed to be overwhelming. Today I am pursuing a full-time position in the health care field as I conquer the childcare issues I face, hand-in-hand with HO.  I am very grateful and I treasure the benefits of Housing Opportunities for my family as well as others that may need a pull upward to regain their dignity and self-worth to become a contributing factor in the community. May the Lord continue to richly bless the resources of Housing Opportunities {and volunteers} as they compassionately impact one family at a time as they have mine, is my prayer!  Grace and Peace to all who exceed the expectations of those in need...     With deep respect, DH

sunWe were facing foreclosure and had been working with our lender for over a year to get help.  We were granted a repayment plan by our lender for our loan and accepted a verbal agreement to catch us up on our mortgage.  We thought we were on the right track and then suddenly our lender stopped the repayment plan without explanation.   My husband and I are both on disability and I have cancer and the stress of losing our home was even harder to take. We started working with Housing Opportunities, Inc.  HO assigned us a foreclosure prevention counselor who helped guide us and represented us at a Settlement Conference.  We had a Sheriff's Sale scheduled for July 25, 2012 and we thought for sure this is it – we are losing our home – but amazingly with the help of our counselor on the day of July 18th we got the news that the Sheriff's Sale postponed and have finally gotten a trial modification to save our home. I don't know what we would have done without the help of Housing Opportunities, Inc.    Thank You - G.W. & M.W.

sunI was in a homeless situation and felt discouraged, angry, and scared.  I did not know what was going to happen.  I was terrified my infant son was going to be taken away from me.  I had no family and was alone to figure this out for myself.   My first stop was at a local shelter for women.  I applied at Housing Opportunities for help.  When I got the call that there was an open spot for me I was overcome with excitement.  Finally I was going to be in a safe place that I could call home for myself and more importantly for my son.  I was full of happiness but still very nervous.  This was a great start for me – a home – but I was still young and all alone and didn't know where to start to make a better life for us.  When I first met with my case manager from Housing Opportunities I felt better.  Each time we met I felt more and more at ease and could finally see a future ahead of me.  By working closely with my case manager and staff at HO I got the help I needed to become an independent person and gain the skills to be a great mom.  I am so thankful that Housing Opportunities partners with agencies in the community to reach and serve those in need.  Their support services are what helped me and my son and I will always be grateful.     THANK YOU – S.T.

Click here to see more testimonials as part of The Invisible Project 

Volunteer Testimonials of Stepping In, Stepping Up, and Stepping Forward

sunI have volunteered for several different organizations in our community over the past 20 years. I have performed a variety of tasks from driving people to appointments, answering phones and serving on boards of nonprofit agencies.  I started my volunteer work at HO in 2008. (I have since learned that I was their first volunteer.) Initially I worked in the office doing filing, copying and whatever the staff needed so they could put their time and energy into working with clients.  I have always been very impressed at the amount of time and energy that the staff spends on helping their clients get what they need and always in a very professional manner.   After about a year there, H.O. started a food pantry. At first the staff worked the food pantry, but as it got going they asked for volunteers to help the clients at the pantry.  I was one of those first volunteers.  This was my first opportunity to work directly with clients, and I found it to be so rewarding.  While we had a limited amount of food to offer, people were always so grateful for whatever items they could get.  I heard some amazing stories of how people had lost long-time jobs; had to be out of work due to illness or injury, or have had to rely on others for assistance most of their lives.  When I think about how easy it is for most of us to hop in our cars and drive to the store and how much time and energy it took for these clients to walk to the pantry for a few bags of groceries, I am always very humbled.  I have worked at the food pantry since it opened.  I am still humbled by the fortitude and gratitude shown by the people who come to the pantry. I look forward to my time each week to volunteer because I know I will leave feeling uplifted and have renewed energy.  If you have not had the opportunity to volunteer at the H.O. food pantry, please consider doing so.  You will be helping those who are in need and helping yourself to a wonderful feeling.          Sincerely -  P.B.

sunI volunteer in Housing Opportunities for 3 hours every Wednesday afternoon.  I first heard about the food pantry from my good friend.  I was really impressed by the different programs HO offers and decided to try volunteering.  I volunteer because I wanted to give back and contribute to a cause that is near to my heart.  I am disabled and unemployed and I know how difficult life can be without a little help.  HO is providing a service to so many people that need it. For me, it is a privileged to be there.  I have been volunteering at HO's food pantry for over a year now and there are several things that keep me coming back week in and week out.  I have made personal connections and become friends with many of the volunteers that I serve with on a weekly basis.  I also enjoy interacting with the food pantry clients.  Sometimes people just need someone to talk to" and I enjoy being able to fill that role.  For me working in the food pantry is a privilege.  It has given me a purpose and I look forward to coming every week.  Working with my fellow volunteers has been a real blessing.  HO couldn't continue to serve the hundreds of families a month at without pantry volunteers and I am happy to be one of those!   Sincerely – R.A.
 

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