Joshua had a good job and was living in a nice apartment with his wife Felicia, who was pregnant, and their 5-year-old son. Then he was laid off from his job. Then Felicia’s pregnancy developed complications which required her to take time off from her job. With no income to pay rent or bills, and help from friends and family running out, they were evicted from their apartment and their car was repossessed. They had no place to go. They made calls to several
agencies and were accepted by Love, Inc. in Ephrata. From there they were referred to Tabor and began working with a Shelter to Independent Living case manager.
Their case manager showed them how to budget their money, how to purchase the things they needed for less money, such as buying work cloths at Goodwill and getting their food from Angel Food Ministry. They went to the county assistance office for food stamps and joined the on-track program for their electric bills. Their case manager helped them obtain Section 8 rental assistance and convinced a landlord in Denver to take a chance renting to Felicia and Joshua, explaining that Tabor’s protective payee program would minimize the landlord’s risk of not receiving timely monthly rent payments. She also told Josh about free Commercial Driver’s License classes through Career Link.
“What impressed me about them is how they took responsibility for the problems they got themselves into in the past,” their STIL case manager explains. “They didn’t expect things to be easy so they worked hard to turn things around. When Josh wanted to go back to school at Career Link, Felicia started working so they would have income.”
Felicia and Joshua want to be good role models for their boys so they will start out on the right foot. “We never had that,” says Felicia. Joshua’s family was separated and Felicia’s mother overspent. Tabor’s counseling was what they needed to learn how to budget wisely and provide a stable home for their boys in the long run. “We want to have a good environment for our boys,” Felicia says, “a good relationship.”
They have maintained their apartment in Denver for one and a half years. They now have two cars and have both improved their income. Felicia recently obtained a salaried position as a sales consultant for an organic foods company and Joshua, with his CDL from Career Link, is working on-call for the same company. They are paying off their debts including their back rent for the apartment from which they were evicted.
Their current goals are to get a 3-bedroom home closer to their jobs and to become debt free. Eventually they would like to buy a house. Their case manager says they are using their current assistance as a stepping stone to get to a better place. “They want to help others and eventually want to get off Section 8 so someone else has the opportunity to use it. They are very determined, willing to learn, and show resilience during hard times.”
Their advice to others facing eviction or having debt problems: “Keep going. Be honest. Present your track record and your goals. You’ll be turned down, but keep going. If you keep thinking nothing will go right – it won’t go right … It’s important to realize your mistakes quickly and try to fix them.” Of their journey, Felicia says, “It took a lot of hard work.”