Martha first came to Good Neighbors in 2011, struggling to care for her deaf & autistic son and her mother who suffered with Alzheimers. She has been to GN once or twice since that time but has managed mostly on her own. At this visit she needed a small amount of assistance with her utility bill. Since we last had seen her, her son has found a job and been working for almost 5 years. She is no longer able to work but volunteers at the skilled care facility where her mother once lived as well as serves at the food pantry at her church. She truly has made the best of a tough situation. GN covered a small portion of the utility bill, and Martha paid the rest. Wow! Another happy ending!
Jeannie moved to Blount County from Nashville with her two children to escape an abusive husband. She came to Good Neighbors seeking assistance for a rental deposit to provide a safe home for her family. She was able to share her difficult history with the coach. She is working through the trauma of having suffered severe abuse by her parents before moving into the foster system. Jeannie was able to raise the funds required through Good Neighbors and several other agencies, and also completed a budgeting course offered by Peninsula.
Earlier this year Doris came to Good Neighbors seeking assistance with her utilities. She is a single mother of three, was unemployed and lacked a high school degree. Her coach provided financial assistance for her utilities and encouraged Doris to pursue a GED and connect with the TN Career Center (now America’s Job Center). Doris returned in September again seeking assistance; however, she had attained her GED and secured a new job which starts in October! She now has a renewed sense of confidence and self-respect, and is more hopeful about her ability to provide for her children.
Greg and Mellissa have no car and walk everywhere. Greg was working in a neighboring county and was able to catch a ride with another employee. They have two children in the county school system. Life was tough but “doable” until Greg lost his job when the owner became ill and had to close the business. The family was forced to move and had to consider a location that transportation would be good for the children and within reach of a new job. When they came to GN, they were homeless and had spent a night or two in the car. Being resourceful, they had located a trailer to rent and were able to cover the rental deposit but had no funds left for utilities. Through the SURE grant, GN was able to pay the utility deposit and the family was able to have a safe place to sleep and live. Many other resources were shared with this family. It’s always a blessing to know a family is not left stranded on the streets.
Just over a year ago Grace came to Good Neighbors seeking some assistance and information after she and her husband of 30 years accepted at least temporary custody of 3 teenage nephews. What an experience as they discovered just how much young men eat and how much water they use! At that time she had a utility bill that she was unable to pay completely. GN assisted with the bill and life was good. Then a few months ago her husband had an unexpected health crisis and she is grateful he was able to pull through. They have now adopted the nephews and can’t imagine life any other way, but the medical bills are piling up. Her husband is now permanently disabled and unable to provide as he once did. If it were not for food stamps and free meals at school the budget would be even more difficult. Good Neighbors referred Grace to the Family Resource Center and assisted with an overdue water bill. Referral was also made to Community Action Agency for LIHEAP. Grace was extremely appreciative of the assistance and vows to “get those boys through school”.
Debbie is a single parent with 3 “tweenagers” in the house. She draws a small amount of disability and also a small amount from Families First. Her rent is reasonable, but still requires close to 50% of her income. When she arrived at Good Neighbors she had a utility bill over $300 for last month and the newest bill for $140 more. She was worried about utility disconnection and eviction. There are major medical issues to consider as well. During the interview, the coach recommended that she contact Community Action about the utility bill. Once that connection was made and the determination was made that Debbie met the guidelines, the utility bill was paid and Debbie actually had a very small credit toward her next bill. Many other resources were shared and Debbie was most appreciative. Best news!
Penny lives in subsidized housing and was unable to pay the full rental amount. This month has been rough because her car has required several repairs. She has cancer and is facing more medical tests, but the prognosis is not good. She has a great attitude and knows that her time is somewhat limited. She also has full custody of her granddaughter who will soon be a teenager. Arrangements have already been made for transitional custody when she is no longer able to take care of her. Penny was grateful for information on food pantries, Welcome Table and the Family Resource Center. Information was shared about Hope for Today and the support they offer. Penny was able to cover all the rent except for the last $100. GN paid the balance. Penny is looking forward and making plans. She is a blessing.
Sally came to Good Neighbors for help with a utility bill. She had an unusually high utility bill because her pipes had burst. Her landlord did repair them and insulated them. She is very frugal- though she uses electric heaters, she turns them very low at night. When she arrived she had already paid most of her bill. With the help of two area churches, we were able to get the rest paid.
Helen and her boyfriend bought a trailer but the utility bill was very high during the cold months this winter and they needed a little help. Helen works for a fast food company and is working toward getting her HiSET. She has recently been promoted at work and she and her boyfriend are doing all they can to better themselves. Resources were shared and Good Neighbors was able to help with the last part of their utility bill. Things are getting brighter for them.
It was a big month for the SURE program. Good Neighbors was able to partner with Family Promise and Peninsula while assisting two different families with utility deposits. Both families had children and had been homeless. One family completed the Family Promise program and needed a little extra help with a utility deposit after finding a new place to live and the other family’s case worker had found a way to pay deposits for rental but this family needed assistance with the utility deposit. Good Neighbors was able to assist with both utility deposits and both families are now on their way to a stable environment for their children. Armed with multiple resources and new hope they are ready to face a new day!
Trina came to Good Neighbors seeking assistance with the utility bill. She has been living on her own for several years and has done well. She has a good job that she really enjoys and feels appreciated by the management. She has some college credits and wants to continue with her education. She served in the military for nine months and was discharged due to a medical condition. All was well until she met her now previous boyfriend and allowed him to move in with her. After several months she discovered that he was stealing from her to fund his drug habit. When confronted he revealed he had not only stolen more than money, household items were also missing. She made him leave and has now found that bills were not paid that she assumed were paid and she is trying to catch up. Good Neighbors was able to help her with a portion of her utility bill. She is working a lot of overtime to catch up and her landlord is very understanding. Trina was able to pay the rest of the utility bill and plans to be all caught up by the end of March. She appreciated the extra resources she was given.