DHC’s Summer of Success Stories: Veteran Spotlight with Bryan Hall

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Bryan stands beside the American flag he proudly flies on his front porch.

Bryan Hall was the first veteran tenant in DHC’s new duplex. Bryan started his career in the military as an infantry soldier and was named Soldier of the Year. After working with the Army in New York and Texas as a combat medic instructor and ophthalmologist tech, he moved back to his home state of North Carolina. However, he couldn’t work in a hospital because of his credit. So, for two years, Bryan worked at a gas station in Mooresville and lived in his car. When his car broke down, Bryan sought help. A friend referred him to the HUD-VASH program, a program that provides rental assistance to homeless veterans. In order to be eligible for the HUD-VASH program, he had to move to Mecklenburg County but Bryan didn’t want to live in Charlotte. He settled in Davidson in a low-rent apartment complex. Several years later, someone told him about DHC’s new rental units specifically for veterans.

Today, Bryan is thankful for his apartment. He especially enjoys the comforts of home, like having a washer and dryer in his unit and sitting on his porch watching the birds at his bird feeder. Recently, Bryan has received local attention for putting flags at veteran graves in all three cemeteries in Davidson; many of these graves were not being properly commemorated and his effort ensures that these graves are marked on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day. Bryan is also working to mobilize local leaders and citizens in support of a veterans’ memorial for the town of Davidson. He has worked with a designer to create a design and hopes that the memorial can be erected soon.

 

DHC’s Summer of Success Stories: Volume 2

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Michele Crowell moved into one of DHC’s apartments at Creekside Corner in July of 2016. Before coming to DHC, she had bounced around for a year since losing her job in 2015. During that time, Michele and her son moved about ten times, staying with friends, living in hotels, and finally coming to live at Hope House in Huntersville for a month. During this time, Michele was driving her son Jayden to and from school in Charlotte every day so that he could attend a magnet school. She was working for a cleaning company while looking for a better job. After moving into her apartment, Michele experienced several ups and downs. Shortly thereafter, her car broke down and Michele eventually purchased a new one with the help of her father. Around the same time, Michele started a new job with GP Strategies; she works out of the Ingersoll-Rand headquarters, a mere five minutes from her home, as a part of the training team.

 

Currently, Michele is enrolled in a local “Getting Ahead” program and is finishing her bachelor’s degree online from NC State in Interpersonal Communications. She is very involved in service within her community, Cub Scouts, her church, and is a member of DHC’s Board of Directors. Her two main goals are to get her health in order so that she can continue to lead a busy life with her son and to purchase a home. Michele is working with Gail to improve her credit and get in a position to purchase a home. In the fall, Jayden will start school at Woodlawn. Michele and Jayden will have less than a 10-minute commute to work and school. While Michele admits that she never thought that she would move outside of Charlotte, she loves living in Davidson; the community is wonderful and Michele enjoys the quiet and safety that the small town brings. Through it all, Michele has shown strength, fortitude, and a never give up attitude that has brought her and Jayden to a place of stability.

DHC’s Summer of Success Stories: Volume 1

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Kathy is a single parent of two very active twin teen boys. In June of 2016, she was referred to DHC by a fellow Community School teacher who purchased a home with the help of DHC. Kathy came into DHC wanting to become a homeowner; she was immediately interested in the townhomes being built in Bradford. As is true with most single parents, she had limited funds to turn her dream into reality. Some of her income was not part of her teaching position and she had to establish a precise and detailed paper trail in order for the lender to include it as income. Kathy found out about the need for this paper trail a week before her originally scheduled closing. Fortunately, the builder was very easy to work with and Kathy was allowed to rent her beautiful new townhome for three months until the lender was ready to close. During this time, Kathy worked closely with Gail to improve her credit and revise her budget. Kathy closed on her home in April of 2017. It was a long haul for Kathy but she was steadfast in working toward her goal of becoming a homeowner.

During her journey to homeownership, Kathy found DHC’s counselor, Gail Brooks-Lemkin, extremely helpful. Gail was Kathy’s biggest cheerleader during the whole process; she advocated for Kathy and was a wealth of knowledge about available resources that could help her. Down payment assistance through the Town of Davidson also helped Kathy be able to afford her home. Otherwise, she didn’t have the money for a down payment and was stuck in a cycle of paying rent so high that it was hard to save for one. Currently, Kathy and her sons are very happy in their home. All along, she wanted her kids to feel like it was really home and that is exactly what the townhouse has become. Her sons are graduating from high school and will attend NC State University and UNCW. Kathy loves her neighborhood and friendly neighbors. Recently, she received and passed on a “neighbor plate” with homemade goodies as a way to get to know neighbors. She also loves the proximity of downtown Davidson; she enjoys catching the trolley (the stop is located right down the street) for downtown Davidson so she can enjoy walking around with friends.

DHC Success Stories

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Cathie’s Story

207 Mock Circle

Cathie first came to DHC over seven years ago in need of a safe, affordable place to live. She secured a DHC apartment and began working with Gail Brooks-Lemkin, DHC’s financial counselor. At the time, she didn’t have any long-term financial goals; she wanted to pay her bills on time and live in a safe place. But, Cathie is no stranger to hard work; she has always worked at least two jobs and she started working with Gail on her budget. Cathie says, “When you have the rug pulled out from under you, it takes a long time to get back to where you need to be” and claims that she has earned a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks from her many life experiences. During her six and a half years as a tenant, Cathie found stability in her apartment and her job (of ten years this year), worked to improve her financial situation, and finally allowed herself to dream of homeownership. Shortly after moving into her apartment, Cathie was able to transfer to the Harris-Teeter that was within walking distance.

Several years ago, a house right around the corner from her apartment came on the market. Cathie kept her eye on the house but didn’t feel prepared to buy it because it needed a significant amount of work. Then, in July of 2015, the same house came back on the market after being renovated and Cathie went to see it. After stepping in the house, she immediately knew it would be her home one day. She started doing pre-purchase counseling with Gail and found out her credit score was better than she expected it would be. With the help of down payment assistance from the Town of Davidson, she closed on her house in October of 2015. In her 60 years, her new home was the first place that she has ever felt truly at peace. Cathie takes joy in the little things in her house, such as working in the yard and cleaning and decorating. She feels safe in her neighborhood and has developed relationships with her neighbors. She would like to thank DHC for their help in getting her prepared for homeownership and for providing support and encouragement along the way.

With DHC, from Homeless to the Comfort of  Home

DHC apartment

DHC touches many different lives in many different ways.  One major thrust is providing affordable apartments for those with aspirations of homeownership but who are not ready, financially, credit wise or emotionally for the responsibility.

Over the last 8 months, Marjorie* has faced a roller coaster of setbacks and small victories while on the road to independence and a new life for herself and her daughter. Marjorie moved to North Carolina 8 months ago to escape the harsh winters of her native Ohio and a vicious cycle of dependency that her family created. Immediately after her move she continued working for Walgreens, her employer of seven years, but had her hours cut from 40 hours a week to 12 hours a week. After living with two different relatives, she was told about Hope House, a non-profit in Huntersville that provides transitional housing for up to six months for situationally homeless women and children. Marjorie credits Hope House with providing her with resources to get back on her feet; but, she had to utilize them and do the work necessary to become independent again.

While at Hope House, she also had to have major repairs done on her car, which provides her transportation to and from work and to Ohio to see family. Marjorie was referred to DHC’s financial counselor Gail and they began working together at the end of January. Since Marjorie started working with Gail, she has accomplished several short-term goals: she created a budget so that she can see exactly where her money is going; she got on a payment plan for her student loans, saving her almost $250 a month in wage garnishments; she started working to repair her credit, specifically by learning how to read her credit report and dispute charges; and in April 2016 Marjorie moved into her own DHC apartment. When she moved out of Hope House, Marjorie had very little furniture and Beds for Kids Lake Norman stepped in and furnished her apartment for a $100 deposit.  In March, Marjorie’s job was transferred from Charlotte to Huntersville; she is now working about 35 hours a week. Marjorie also has several long-term goals that include transitioning from living paycheck-to-paycheck to saving money and going back to school to become a dental hygienist. She continues working with Gail.

Today, Marjorie acknowledges that she still has a ways to go to get to where she wants to be; she is still working to get caught up after the many setbacks she has faced in the last eight months. But, she is very grateful for all of the help that she has received to get to this point and remains optimistic for the future. She loves her DHC apartment. It is the perfect size for her and her daughter and has become a peaceful place for them to spend time together.

A Letter of Gratitude

July 9 2008 JCB Urban Summerswalk houses

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been in my sweet little home here in Summer’s Walk in Davidson. Sometimes, I can’t believe how far I’ve come; after a failed adoption, divorce and having to move so suddenly I felt like my world had been torn apart and there was no hope. I was living with family and saving every penny I could. Honestly, I had lost so much, both financially and emotionally, that I never imagined I would be blessed enough to own my own home so quickly and ultimately rebuild and restart my life.

Thanks to Davidson Housing Coalition and the wonderful support of Gail Brooks-Lemkin, DHC’s Housing Counselor, my hope began to be restored. The steps to purchasing my home were not easy, and I had already been through so much, but Gail was with me every step of the way. She ensured I understood the process of working with the Town of Davidson’s Affordable Housing Program and was always available to support and encourage me along the way. Thanks to DHC, the Town of Davidson’s Affordable Housing Program and the wonderful builders who participate in the program and built my home. My hope for a better life… a happy life has now become my reality.

With a grateful heart-

Jane*

 

*Names have been changed.