Last fall, we heard how St. Bartholomew’s contribution to the Hope for Homes Program at Interfaith helped a family to successfully find permanent housing. This year, St. Bart’s plans to raise additional funds to help other families. Recently, we provided $80 to enable a family to pay rent, while turning on their utilities. Mary Ferro, the coordinator for the Hope for Homes Program at Interfaith Community shared this story with us.
Toni and her fun loving 4-year-old daughter Chloe came to Interfaith Community Services seeking rental assistance. Although Toni has been working full-time as a retail manager, she had been unable to pay off her utility bill from her past home. Toni sought utility assistance through CUI, an agency Interfaith works with to help with utility bills. However, due to the bill being past due for a different location, Toni was informed that she would have to pay the entire $825 bill in order to get services turned on in her new apartment. Toni paid her utility bill and kept her faith that somehow she would find the assistance with her rent.
That was when Toni turned to Interfaith for assistance. Within the first few minutes of meeting her, it was apparent that Toni was determined to do whatever was needed to ensure she would not lose her new apartment. She was provided with required paperwork and was informed that she would need to provide documentation. She said, “Of course anything you need.” At the end of the meeting, I provided Little Ms. Chloe with a gift and before I knew it my legs were being hugged tightly and she excitedly asked her mother, “Can we go to grandma’s to play with this?” Her mom replied by informing Chloe that they didn’t have to go to grandma’s to play because they had fixed the electricity. The moment following that was incredible. Little Chloe extended both arms in the air, fiercely shaking them in celebration and said, “Yay we have lights! Mama you are the greatest!”
Toni left not knowing if the assistance was going to be available but stated that whatever she needed to do, whether it was to attend a class or to make payments, she would be willing to do it. Toni provided all the required documentation immediately and I provided the information to the social service team. The rental assistance of $805 was agreed upon, St. Bart’s provided the necessary funds, and I quickly notified Toni of the approval. Toni was unaware that the assistance was going to be $805 since I had told her that if all is approved we could assist with half the rent. As I notified her that the rental assistance was approved, and we would assist with the $805, she replied saying, “Wait! What?” I repeated to her that we would assist with the whole $805. Toni was in disbelief and began to cry saying “thank you” over and over again. Toni is extremely appreciative of the assistance provided and mentioned that she plans to pay it forward one day.
If you are interested in making a donation to Hope for Homes, please submit a check with Hope for Homes designated. Otherwise, you can also donate online at www.shelbygiving.com/stbarts.