My name is Annie and this is my hope story…
I first met with a case manager at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas over a year ago with my daughter, Ellie. At that time, we were staying in a domestic violence shelter. My physically, emotionally and financially abusive husband had changed the locks on our house so I could not go back into our home. I thank God daily that my husband changed the locks because it caused me to seek help. I was desparate. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but it got me out of a horrible situation that I had been trying to make work for 6 years. I shudder at the thought of what could have happened to me or Ellie if we had stayed.
The Catholic Charities case manager talked with me about Catholic Charities housing program. Through this program, Ellie and I were eligible to receive assistance with a housing deposit and up to 6 months of rental assistance. I would also receive 12 months of case management to not only help us find an apartment and get settled, but to also help support us as I worked toward maintaining our housing.
I have to be honest, I was scared to be on my own. My husband’s voice kept telling me I couldn’t make it on my own and that I’d be begging to come back. I seriously did not think I could make it on my own. I shared my fears with my case manager. She did something really surprising, she validated my concerns and pointed out how much strength I had to make it to this point. Her words of understanding and strength really helped me.
After learning more about the Catholic Charities housing program and getting to know my case manager better. I still had my doubts, but I was ready for this next step for me and Ellie. The case manager worked with me on a monthly spending plan that helped me set up a budget. I had never managed money on my own.
I found an apartment and moved into my first real home with Ellie. I was nervous to be in my own place, but also excited that I was living on my own. At the start of the program, I met weekly with my case manager. Over the months, these visits decreased to biweekly and eventually to once a month. I also attended quarterly financial classes offered by Catholic Charities and learned about topics such as budgeting, credit and goal setting. I started feeling like I could do this…I could take care of Ellie and me.
Thanks to the support I received from my case manager and the financial classes, I was prepared to pay my rent when my seventh month in the program arrived. I had tracked my expenses and created a detailed monthly budget. I knew exactly how much money I needed each month to pay my expenses.
Throughout my year in the Catholic Charities housing program, I maintained my job at a restaurant and even received a raise and earned health benefits and paid time off! When I completed my one year lease, I shared with my case manager how proud I felt of my accomplishments. Proud that I had overcome my fears and joined the Catholic Charities housing program. Proud I had maintained a one-year lease and paid my utilities on-time and in full each month. Proud that I could support myself and my daughter on my own for a full year. And, most of all, I am proud that my daughter, Ellie, is able to see my success!
I feel more hope for my future…our future – Ellie’s and my future – than I did before. I recognize my strength and am thankful for everyone who has been there to support and teach me along the way.