A SINGLE MOTHER’S STRUGGLE
HCSNV Housing Counselor, Gloria Figueras, worked with one of our clients, a single mother with three children. At the time of her initial intake meeting, the mother shared a two- bedroom apartment with a friend who also had children. Although the client worked full-time as a nurse’s aide, she had to pay childcare along with her other monthly expenses, and was unable to afford a home of her own.
After discussing housing options, such as the Fairfax County Rental Program and HUD housing, Gloria assisted the client in creating a budget, suggested that she apply for child care assistance, and also provided her with information on apartments that she was eligible for based on her income.
The client was approved for HUD housing and was able to move into her own place three days before Christmas. She now lives in a 3-bedroom apartment with all utilities included, with an affordable rental payment. Gloria received an e-mail from her client that read:
“Happy New Year! Ms. Gloria, thank you and I appreciate everything you did for me. May God add many more years to your life.”
A GRANDMOTHER ESCAPES EVICTION
In July 2012, Housing Counselor/Case Manager, Vivian Boakye met with a client in need of Housing Search Assistance. The client was a grandmother who was responsible for the well being of her daughter and her daughter’s two young children. One grandchild is two-years old and the other is a 2-month-old infant. The grandmother was in great distress because she had received an eviction notice and feared her family would become homeless. She had tried to find housing on her own, but due to a poor credit rating and her daughter’s criminal record, she was unsuccessful. She had less than a month to find housing when she was referred to us.
Vivian provided housing search and case management services to this client. She worked with her to develop an action plan. Because the client participates in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Vivian contacted the Fairfax Department of Housing and Community Development to request an updated listing of properties that accept Section 8 vouchers. Vivian contacted landlords on her client’s behalf, provided her with HCSNV’S Weekly Vacancy List and continued to follow up with her. Vivian introduced her to a real estate agent who had a property for rent and was accepting the vouchers. A week later, Vivian’s client was approved to rent the property. Vivian also connected the client with an agency that provided furniture for the property. The client expressed a desire for help in finding a job and Vivian is now assisting her with her job search.
Vivian says that the client “is full of joy and could not thank our agency enough for all the support. She says she would not have been able to locate housing without the help of HCSNV.”
EMPOWERING OUR NEIGHBORS
Recently Gloria met with a couple from Turkey, who needed assistance to pay a utility bill. The husband had been laid off from his job as a mechanic three months before. Gloria discovered that he had not filed for unemployment benefits and she explained the process to him. When he mentioned that he and his family had not eaten in two days, she immediately called an organization called Food for Others and they were able to help him with a two-week supply of food. Gloria assisted the couple in applying for food stamps. She helped them negotiate a loan modification with their mortgage company. She also created a job search plan for the husband. He found work as a mechanic within a couple of weeks.
This case illustrates HCSNV’s holistic approach to serving clients. The couple had initially come to get help with paying a utility bill, but thanks to Gloria’s skill as a counsellor and her knowledge of local resources, their living situation was completely transformed for the better.
ANOTHER SINGLE PARENT’S STRUGGLE
Another client, also a single parent, who had recently been laid off from work, came to HCSNV in need of financial assistance to pay an outstanding utility bill. Despite cold winter weather, the client’s electricity had been disconnected. HCSNV was able to provide a partial payment of $200 to assist with the electricity payment, and arranged for other service agencies to pay the remainder of the bill. Within one day of seeking services from HCSNV, the electricity was turned on again.