Hard Choices

When Shirley’s marriage broke up, her husband said he would no longer pay the rent on their apartment. Earning minimum wage, Shirley could not afford the apartment. So she and her two boys that were still living at home, ages 16 and 12, went to the Water Street Mission. Her name was on the lease with her husband’s and she knew that breaking a lease would make it difficult for her to get another apartment. She remembers, “It was a hard choice … a very, very hard choice.

“It was a big transition. There was a lot of paperwork applying for food stamps and things like that. I was in the middle of a semester … I went back to school on-line to get my BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration). I was working because I needed income. My supervisor at Sears allowed me to come in early so I could leave early to pick-up my boys from school. I could not have a computer at the mission, so I went to friends’ houses to use their computers to do my school work in the evenings and then back to the mission by curfew.

“Tabor helped because I was able to save more and Tabor kept good records of the money that was put into the account they held for me. My case manager helped with connecting me to services and applying for all the resources that were available. I wanted to keep my boys in their same school, so I had to wait a little longer for an apartment. We found an apartment in January, but it would not be available until April. It is right around the corner from their school. Some days when I picked them up from school, we would just stop for a few minutes in front of the building and imagine what life would be like when we finally moved in. Then we would go back to the shelter.”

Sears did not want to see Shirley go, but she needed to make more money. “I didn’t want to be impulsive. I wanted to pray about it.” She had two opportunities to apply for a job at Mt. Hope Nazarene Retirement Home. With the second opportunity, she decided to apply and was hired as a part-time housekeeper for more money per hour than she was making at Sears. Mt. Hope increased her hours, and 7 months after she was hired, she was promoted to Human Resources Manager.

Now that she and her boys have a stabile home near the boys’ school, she is focusing on her new job and looking forward to graduating in December from the on-line BBA program.

“Shirley was diligent with following her budget,” reports Shirley’s case manager. “She always paid her rent and bills on time. Since the day I met her she has been a positive person and was always willing to do what was needed for her and her family.”

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