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 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
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-
*Names have been changed.