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I was living paycheck to paycheck, so when the economy tanked, I did too. I was laid off, and unemployment doesn’t pay the bills.
I had been working for the city at a golf course. I was a banquet server – we did a lot of big events. I was able to pay my bills, but we were barely making it. Then the bad news came: the golf course didn’t get the contract again.
My house foreclosed, so we moved into an apartment. Within a year-and-a-half, I lost two places. I was living on and off in my car, sometimes in a hotel, friends’ houses, etc. for six months. I lost all my furniture, clothes, shoes, beds, everything… All of my kids’ photos, everything that was in storage was auctioned off.
That was the most hurtful thing to not have pictures of my babies – things I’ve had for years – all gone.
I had moved here from Detroit a couple of years earlier. I have family here, but very scattered. I had intentions of getting my family back together, but when I lost my job I didn’t want my family to think I was coming to them for pity or a handout.
I was telling a friend about my problems, and she connected me with a social worker from Initiative for Affordable Housing. But I couldn’t even afford that with my unemployment check. So the social worker brought me to UMCH. And ever since it’s like I’ve been taking baby steps toward independence. I can’t even believe it. I wake up in the morning and I’m like is this really happening?
I’ve felt so safe, so secure here. Everybody here was so wonderful. Down to the ladies that clean – they are so wonderful.
I promise you, UMCH has been my lifeline. I’m almost scared to talk about it just because it’s been unreal. I’ve never had this type of blessing. I’ve always been a single mother taking care of my children alone. I’ve never been on public assistance before. I didn’t know how to accept help.
Eight months ago I didn’t know what I was going to do. Eight months ago I couldn’t even hold my head up. I was broken. I was in a place and still pulling my clothes out of bags. They had to tell me, “Kimberly, you can hang your clothes in the closet.” This is the most I’ve been able to live without being afraid. After about a month of getting here, I finally started sleeping at night.
God, UMCH and my son has been my lifeline. Because I don’t know what I would have done. I was a mess. My son is not the one who was breaking, I was. Eight months ago I was terrified. Now, I’m so happy. I’m actually afraid to leave just because it’s been so amazing here. My kid is amazing. He never folded. He kept saying mom, you gotta be strong. His GPA never failed. Sometimes he was going to school right out of my car.
UMCH has just been so wonderful. I can tell families, kids, anybody, if God gives you a chance to come here, you just gotta fight hard to come here. I’ve never, ever experienced this in my life. I know there are other agencies and places, but UMCH is different. I was loved here. I didn’t know what to expect. When you say temporary housing, you think shelter, you think people hurting you, there’s a lot of dangerous places. A lot of people wouldn’t take me because I have a teenage son. UMCH gave my son and me our own room.
I just thank God for y’all. I’ve never ever experienced anything like this. I still pinch myself. Where did this come from?
Kimberly has since secured a job and moved on to more permanent housing situation for herself and her son, who has started high school. We’re very proud of both of them and expect to keep hearing great things! To be a part of a story like Kimberly’s, click here to make an online donation today.
*Name changed to protect client’s privacy.