Stories of hope
House of Hope touches the lives of thousands of Martin County residents every month. On this page, we will share some of their stories to promote understanding and encourage others to become engaged with House of Hope, whether you are seeking assistance or wanting to offer help. Click here if you would like to tell your story.
Getting through lean times
“Tonya & Bob” are married with two children, ages 12 and 15. Last year, Bob was seriously injured in a car accident, suffering a skull fracture and a brain contusion. He is recovering well, but he is still unable to return to work and he is awaiting a determination on disability benefits. As the family tries to make ends meet, they have relied on public benefits such as SNAP to assist with food costs. During the leaner times of the month, the Walkers turn to House of Hope’s food pantry. This helps them to offset other expenses, receive additional food and receive items that cannot be purchased with food stamps — such as cleaning products and toiletries.
Food for a family
“Kristina” is a single mother of two children, struggling to support a family with minimal financial support. Her problems were compounded when her youngest child had to undergo eye surgery. Kristina turned to House of Hope to meet her family’s increasing needs, using the pantry services to offset her household expenses and fulfill the nutritional needs of her children. Kristina says she feels so fortunate to be able to obtain not only canned and dry goods but also fresh fruits and vegetables as well as expensive and much-needed baby food and diapers.
Breaking a cycle
“Mrs. Taft” is in her early 70s and relies on Social Security. She first came to House of Hope requesting assistance with her rent. Through the Project HOPE interview and review process, case workers found that Mrs. Taft had incurred medical expenses after a fall. She also was trying to assist her son and his family. In order to meet her regular household expenses, she took out payday loans and fell into a cycle of taking a new loan each month.
Case workers also discovered that Mrs. Taft was paying significant money towards medical co-pays and had a supplemental health plan that was not meeting all of her needs. House of Hope helped Mrs. Taft with her rent to help her overcome her immediate crisis. Furthermore, case managers worked with her to develop longer-term goals toward financial self-sufficiency. This included:
- Educating her about the pitfalls of payday loans, thus increasing her awareness on ways to avoid such practices.
- Connecting her to SHINE, a program that assists elders with health insurance needs. This helped to identify a health insurance plan that met her needs at a reduced cost
- Assisting with monthly budgeting to support her goal of paying off the payday loans and maintaining household expenses. To date, Mrs. Taft has been able to maintain her household expenses without taking out a payday loan.
A baby and a budget
“Kim & Doug,” a couple with a 1-year-old child, came to House of Hope for help with their rent. Doug was still working, but Kim had lost her full-time job early last summer – at about the same time she discovered that she was expecting their second child. While Kim looked for a new job, the family fell behind on their rent. When they came to House of Hope, they were a month and half behind on their rent, owing a total of $1,225. Kim had found employment, but there would be a lag time before her first paycheck. The couple was worried that they would not be able to remain in their home.
Through Project HOPE, the following was accomplished:
- The family was able to remain in their home, thanks to rental assistance.
- A monthly budget was developed to support their goal of maintain their household expenses.
- House of Hope assisted the family through its holiday programs (Thanksgiving & Christmas), to help them stabilize their finances and prepare for the birth of their baby.
Earlier this year, Kim and Doug’s welcomed their second child. Both parents are employed and doing their best to manage their household expenses as they try to recover from their financial setback last year. At times they use House of Hope’s food pantry in order to direct their earnings toward other areas of their household budget.
“Walter” is a 58-year-old Jensen Beach man who found a new job after a period of unemployment. While out of work, he went to great lengths to cut his expenses, including selling his car. Despite his best efforts, he fell behind in his rent by a couple of months. He came to House of Hope for help, and the agency was able to pay $600 toward his rent. With the help from House of Hope, an understanding landlord, and a new job within walking distance, Walter is headed toward a better future.
Catching up after crisis
“Margaret” works at a dry cleaner and has a son with diabetes. She had to adjust her schedule to pick up and take care of her son after school because her father — who had previously helped with the after-school care — underwent surgery and could not do it for a while. When Margaret lost hours, she lost pay and would be unable to pay her rent. House of Hope was able to help with $600 to help her get her caught up.
Connecting with family
“Dale” is a 43-year-old man who came to House of Hope for assistance with food. He had lost his job and had been unable to find new employment. With no family or close friends in the area, he eventually became homeless. He became involved with House of Hope’s case management program when he was seeking assistance with applying for food stamps. Our case managers helped him with the application, and he was approved for $200 in food stamps. Case managers later helped him to apply to Assurance Wireless so that he could receive a free cell phone and free monthly minutes. He later was able to use this phone to get in contact with his family back home and to locate employment. He is now employed and is no longer living on the streets.
$400 like $4 million
“Karen,” 56, sent this thank you note to House of Hope: “I have been blessed to receive a “gift” of $400 from your organization so that I could pay my overdue rent and not be evicted. I have been struggling with some major health issues and after working all my life, taking full care of my two children, including paying their college tuition and never asking for a penny in the way of help, I now find myself on disability – having lost my home of 15 years, had my car re-possessed and completely depleting my savings, retirement and borrowed money from family and friends, while I waited so long for the disability answer. I want to say how much I appreciate your assistance of $400 – I felt like I could breathe again! The $400 felt like $4 million.”
Car repair crisis
“Carol” is a 20-year-old single mother of a 2-year-old boy. Her income and expenses balance each other out every month at about $1,200. So, when she was faced with a car repair bill of $423, it presented a major setback — making her short on her rent by $300 for the month. She came to House of Hope for help, and we were able to pay the shortfall and keep the family out of crisis.
A case of hives
Here’s one of the most unusual cases in House of Hope history: We helped an elderly couple — he’s 86, she’s 81 — get rid of a 40-pound hive that bees had built behind their air conditioning unit. They live in a mobile home park and were being threatened with eviction if they didn’t get rid of it. HOH negotiated with an exterminator and paid $285 to remove the hive.
A bedtime story
“Becky,” the mother of two young boys, had been trying to extract herself from an abusive relationship. She moved in to a new apartment, but she did not have furniture or many other household items. She came to House of Hope and the Clothes Closet program was able to help — and showed that the program is about more than just clothes. House of Hope gave her two twin beds for the boys as well as one for herself. There were also sets of blue sheets someone had donated that were perfect for the boys’ beds. They also received dishes and cups. The best item of all was a chair for the boys’ bedroom in which their mom could sit and read to them at night.
“Mickie” was 20 and temporarily living at a domestic violence shelter with her 15-month-old child. She has hopes for going to college and becoming a nurse, but her first step along the path is getting her GED. She needed help paying the fee to take the test, and House of Hope agreed to pay the $70 fee.