Marcie couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the ad in The Penny Saver for a four bedroom apartment, 10 minutes from her son’s school, for only $600 including heat. It seemed too good to be true.
It had been one and a half years since Marcie and her three younger sons had a home of their own. They were living at Water Street Rescue Mission after she went through her savings staying at a motel and eating out because there was no way to cook. The motel came after moving from one house to another of various family members and friends. “I know before I got into the shelter, I was having trouble finding help,” she says. “You actually have to hit bottom before you can get any help.”
At the mission, Marcie was determined to keep her boys’ lives as normal as possible. She drove out of her way to get her boys to the school they had been attending and seeing that they got to football practice and games. She was also amazed by the number of people at the mission that had families and jobs, but just couldn’t make it, “They were going through the same thing I was!”
Marcie’s goal the whole time was to keep her family together. Water Street had referred Marcie to Tabor’s Shelter to Independent Living (STIL) program and she was working with Jackie to budget and save money and find an apartment big enough for four people. It was Wednesday when she saw the ad. She called Jackie immediately. Jackie told her to call the number right away and set up an appointment as soon as possible.
Marcie spoke frankly to the landlord about her situation. She felt if her predicament would be a barrier to her getting the apartment, she did not want to get her hopes up. The landlord was sympathetic and appreciated Marcie’s honesty. He said he would not give up the apartment until she saw it. Marcie made the appointment for the next Monday evening.
Jackie met her there armed with Marcie’s credit report and deposit money from Marcie’s savings in Tabor’s protective payee program. The landlord promised to let Marcie know soon. He reviewed her papers and called the next day. “Are you ready for this?” he asked when he offered her the apartment. After 18 months of moving from one place to another, and none of them being her own place, Marcie was more than ready.
Now she can cook dinner for her family, and they each have their own bedroom. They are close to school and the three boys are all on football teams. Her normal 40 hours a week at work have been cut, and while she admits it is tough, she is making her paycheck work, “Everything is paid on time.”
“Jackie has been amazing!,” Marcie says. “She really cares and has really good advice. I thought I was good with my money, but she helped me stick to a budget. Before I found the apartment, she kept encouraging me not to give up and to keep going to work.” Jackie admires Marcie’s “ability to face her barriers and overcome them. She perseveres and makes sacrifices to get things done.”
Marcie hopes her boys never again have to experience what they just went through. “I support them in whatever they do. I went to everyone of my son’s home games and made sure he could make his practices. I want them to have a better life.”
Her landlord, who lives downstairs, is pleased to have a responsible tenant, and the boys help with snow removal and other property maintenance. “Things just seemed to fall together through Tabor,” Marcie says.
When you ask Marcie about her experience, the first thing she’ll tell you is “Tabor is a wonderful organization. They have done so much to help us, connecting me to services we needed. I’m so thankful there are places like Tabor out there.”