• Family Promise

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

I never thought it would happen to me.

Being homeless was something that happened to other people. I’m embarrassed to say this (because now I know it could not be further from the truth), but I honestly used to think that being homeless only happened to bad people or people who somehow “deserved” it. Not to someone like me - a hard-working single mom who is a good person, trying my best to live an honest life and do right by my kids... But we just fell on hard times and couldn’t recover.

This is my story.

I had a decent job and was able to make ends meet for me and my two kids, Oscar and Sophia. Money was always tight and I didn’t have any savings. Savings are hard to have when you’re working paycheck to paycheck, but we were getting by. We could occasionally splurge for an ice cream cone or something like that. We didn’t have a lot of money, but life was good for us. There was a lot of laughter and joy in our house.

The first thing that went wrong was when we lost the car. Out of the blue, my car broke down. The cost of the repairs was so high, and I didn’t have the money to fix it. No one wanted to give me very much money for a car that needed repairs. So I did what I had to do - sell the car for scraps. That money helped me cover a few weeks of taking an Uber to work, but it quickly ran out… Turns out, the cost of paying for a ride every day really added up. With no savings, we got behind, and then, we didn’t have all the money to cover rent. Between rent and the late fees, we just couldn’t catch up. To be honest, I probably could have pulled us out of that hole if the hits hadn’t kept coming.

The next thing that happened was Sophia’s hospitalization. She was in the hospital for 8 days. Thank God she recovered and is healthy today. We are blessed. We just didn’t have the money to pay the medical bills. I was completely shocked that we had to pay anything because I thought we had pretty good insurance. It seemed like every time I went to the mailbox, there was another bill from the hospital.

At that point, as the bills were stacking up, it seemed like every time I turned around rent was due again. It was awful. I was always in a bad mood. When I thought it couldn’t get worse, I lost my job. It was not my fault. As I said, I am a good worker and was also very loyal to my job. It’s just that the company I worked for went out of business once the virus hit.

That is when things got bad. I looked so hard for more work but couldn’t seem to find anything. I barely had the money for food. Bills and creditors were everywhere I turned. Life felt hopeless. I was depressed, angry, and embarrassed. I felt like we were in a deep hole and just couldn’t get out. Some days, I couldn’t get off the couch which made me feel worse because I knew I should be looking for work instead of just sitting there. Some days - I couldn’t move. I didn’t know who to ask for help and even if I did have someone to ask, I never really learned how to ask for help. I was always the one who took care of everyone else. I was the one that people turned to for help. Now we were in so deep. I didn’t even want my kids to look at me because I felt like such a failure.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, we were evicted.

One day, Oscar (who is 6) said something to his teacher about sleeping in the car. At first, I was so mad. But he is just a kid. He didn’t know about my shame. He didn’t know it was a secret. It ended up being the biggest blessing for our family. The school counselor called me with a recommendation that forever changed my life: “Reach out to Family Promise.” Since then, things have really started to turn around.


Disclaimer: This story is based on the experiences of families experiencing homelessness both in our community and around the nation. The names used are fictitious but the circumstances faced are very real. We hope you will stay tuned for Part II next month to learn about a day in the life at Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels.

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  • Family Promise

Many of us are new to this level of crisis. The sudden presence of coronavirus has given all of us some sense of life being disrupted, feeling off-kilter, and generally inconvenienced. Our usual schedule is altered or gone as are many of the systems that we previously relied on to get us through each day.

Grocery shopping is different. Work is different. Routines are different. Even school is different. Sometimes we lose track of the time of day or the day altogether. How many times since this crisis began have you asked yourself, “Is it Tuesday or Wednesday or Friday?” We feel a loss of control over our lives. The future is uncertain. We are at the mercy of the situation. Some of us have lost work or wages which means we are sometimes making hard choices between food and bills. Most of us are unable to see loved ones. For many of us, these changes are accompanied by a lost sense of purpose. The best we can do is hold on to hope, pray for grace, and have faith that it will all work out somehow. The thing that is so striking to all of us at Family Promise is that although this level of crisis is new to many of us, this is very similar to the kind of crisis that we have seen most (if not all) of our families go through since we opened our doors in 2013. This insight into what our families are experiencing when they enter the Family Promise program has already proven to be valuable. It takes trust that the program will work for them, just like we must have faith that we will be able to recoup the funding we've lost from having to cancel two fundraisers. Already our empathy for our families is growing. During this pandemic we are told to be gentle with ourselves, and to give ourselves a break because it is going to be hard for a while. That messaging is accurate - we should be gentle with ourselves and it is going to be hard for a while. For most of us, though, this crisis will pass. We will return to our jobs and our wages will be restored. When it does pass for us and life goes back to “normal,” it is so very important that we remember what this feels like. There will still be people in crisis even when our lives get back to what they were before we ever heard of COVID-19. If we can all remember how it felt and if that memory can lead to a little more compassion, then at least one positive thing will have come from this. Adjusting to the Crisis At Family Promise, we have adjusted like everyone. We are still doing case management and individualized attention using distance/video/conferencing, etc. Our volunteers and donors are still very involved in making sure the families have what they need during this time. Our graduate families are going through the same thing as everyone else. They are homeschooling the kids and they are hoping to hang on to their jobs. They are a little uneasy, uncertain, and very glad they have Family Promise as a safety net. We are keeping them informed about local resources and encouraging their continued contact with us. One of the biggest impacts we’ve personally seen from this crisis is that we have had to cancel our two largest fundraisers of the year. We have pivoted, responded, and replaced them with two virtual events. Opportunities For You to Help No-Show Gala, April 18-25 Most Galas require you to get all dolled up and show up. But not this one! The No-Show Gala is designed for you to eat a fabulous meal in the comfort of your own home (sequins are optional). Each ticket will get you a gourmet dinner courtesy of Sylver Spoon delivered right to your door. All funds raised will go toward emergency funding for our homeless families. Meal deliveries will go on through the week, but the live Gala event itself will be on Saturday, April 18 at 7 PM. Sarah Dixon, our Executive Director, will open with an address and then Jessica Melott will be hosting a live jewelry show featuring fair trade accessories around 7:30 PM. 20% of the profits from the jewelry sales will go to support Family Promise and the rest will go to vulnerable artisan communities. Click here for tickets and more information. We thank you for your support as it is more important than ever. Don’t forget to post a picture of your No Show Gala and tag us at #NoShowGalaNB. Big Give Emergency Relief Fund, Ongoing To donate to our Big Give Emergency Relief Fund, please visit the Family Promise website and click on the red button at the top of the screen. ​As of writing this, we have met our first $4K matching goal (total is now $19K) so now the updated goal is $25K by 4/25. Exciting! We still have a long way to go to reach our next goal, so please consider making a donation. Every bit counts. For every $5 you donate to the Big Give Emergency Relief Fund, you will have a chance to win a raffle prize and for $20 increments you will get 5 chances to win. The winners will be announced on May 6th. Stay tuned for more information on how to claim your prizes. Family Promise is a Community Response to Homelessness and we will need the help of the community working together to pull through in the coming months. We are grateful for your support.

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