Trevor never imagined calling his car “home.” But that’s exactly what happened to him, his son and daughter when living in their car became their only housing choice. Even though Trevor was employed full time, his rent had been raised twice in the last year alone. With no raise to help with rising costs, it was impossible for him to meet his landlord’s demands. Eviction became inevitable. But Trevor didn’t want to completely displace his children, moving them away from their school and friends, nor could he afford to leave his only source of income. Knowing no other options, Trevor and his kids moved into their family car so they could stay together and stay in their community.
Through a concerned co-worker, Trevor was connected with his local Department of Social Services who referred him to the Housing Support Program (HSP). Once Trevor sat down with his HSP team, he told them about all his mounting fears--he had no home, insurmountable debt and no light at the end of the long, discouraging tunnel his life had become. His team knew he was committed to his children and their safety, but couldn’t tackle these obstacles on his own any longer. Determining what the family’s most pressing issue were, Trevor and his Case Worker mapped out goals, the first one being to move out of the car and into safe housing. It was hoped that once the family was stabilized, Trevor could then focus his energies on all of the other challenges he faced.
In HSP, Trevor and his kids were moved into a two bedroom apartment owned and managed by FCNI for homeless families and was given rental subsidies to help him save more of his income. But Trevor knew this was to be a temporary solution, a temporary home. While Trevor was grateful, he told his team that his inability to keep a roof over his kids’ heads devastated him, and made him feel inadequate as a parent. Trevor’s team knew that it wasn’t only important that they help him overcome all of his tangible obstacles, they also needed to encourage him as a capable parent and adult.
To help Trevor transition completely from homelessness to self-sufficiency, Trevor and his Case Worker walked through his credit profile and identified areas that needed immediate attention. To start improving his credit score, the program helped him pay off his more problematic debts. Trevor then participated in HSP workshops aimed at credit repair and budgeting. Understanding how sticking to a budget would help him tighten up his spending was life changing for Trevor--he finally saw how to make his money last longer, and how to take care of bills first so he didn’t fall behind in his payments. Trevor was also supported in his efforts to find a better paying job, something he never even thought possible. But with child care help, Trevor was able to take some extra training courses after work which made him eligible for a promotion. His Case Worker also helped him practice his interviewing skills with prospective employers and even landlords, empowering him to gain new and necessary skills.
Six months after being placed with HSP, Trevor felt like a different person. While long term housing still hasn’t been secured, Trevor has been able to establish a livable budget for his family that enables him to save some each month and is helping him improve his credit--putting him in a much better position for available rentals in his area. He is also in the process of interviewing for a better paying position with his current company, one that would give his family health benefits and him other future promotion opportunities.
Without HSP, Trevor doesn’t think that he would have learned the skills he needed or gained the confidence he now has to get him closer to reaching all of his goals. Today, he’s equipped with the knowledge, the motivation and the belief in himself that he needs to find the perfect home for his kids (hopefully with a gracious owner willing to give his family a second chance) someday very soon. In fact, his hope has been restored so powerfully, he even sees himself as homeowner one day. And after watching Trevor turn his life around one challenge at a time, we fully believe he can do it!
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