Taking Initiative

“We had a whole house, but my children and I would be holed up in one room of it to have some peace,” reports Kathy*, mother of two girls, 3 and 8. “My husband would bang on the door at 3 in the morning because he was mad about something.

“I was changing my clothes from winter to summer, and I just started packing to leave. I didn’t want to leave everything that I had worked for. It was a hard decision. But I took out a loan … got a truck and storage unit … a P.O. Box … moved everything into storage … and just left. I had no family. I had always been stable and now there was no one else to lean on.”

Financial Workshops

Kathy and her girls went to the women’s shelter. There she worked to get back on her feet by attending in the financial education workshops at Tabor. Her caseworker referred Kathy to one of Tabor’s Rapid Re-housing programs to find permanent housing, and she received credit counseling from the Ann B. Barshinger Financial Empowerment Center for Lancaster County. “I was pretty good with budgeting,” she says, “but I needed help with my credit and handling debt. I took tons of classes at Tabor. I learned a lot.

“My first goal was to increase my income by obtaining a second job and I achieved that. Now I’m paying all of the debt from the marriage. I don’t want bad credit to ruin me.”

Kathy’s Rapid Re-housing case manager reports, “Kathy took initiative from the beginning by having all her paperwork in order and copies of everything to give to me and by actively participating in budget counseling and her housing search. She was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and had a goal to get a second job in order to pay off debt while in the program. She got a second job and was able to pay off quite a bit of her debt. She was always eager to learn and figure out her budget so that it would all work.

“She knew where she wanted to live and she found the house quickly. They wanted her to sign the lease that day, so we got everything ready and signed that same day. I instructed her on how to search, what her price range should be and looked up some places for her. But she did the work. She is probably the most motivated client I have had and she is reaching her goal of becoming self-sufficient.”

“I hope my children see that I am strong,” says Kathy. “I don’t want them to see bad situations and think that’s okay. My daughters are happier now. I’m a leader. I want them to know that they can be in charge.

“If it wasn’t for the shelter and Tabor, I don’t know what I would have done.”

*Name changed to protect identity.

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