Sam is a 27-year-old Army Veteran and single dad who made an appointment at one our Family Support Centers last month for a homeless screening. When Sam met with a case manager, he explained that since he lost his job as a private contractor due to COVID-19, he and his two young sons had been living out of his car for the past six weeks, taking showers and eating meals at his sister’s house.

He had applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and unemployment, but was denied benefits. He had applied for several jobs, and had been officially hired by Amazon but wasn’t starting until the following week.  He was evicted during the small window that was not covered by the governor’s eviction moratorium for the state of Kansas after being unable to make his rent payment in June. Since then, he had lost all his possessions besides his car and a few bags of clothing for his children and himself.

Sam had found a landlord willing to rent him an apartment that he felt would be sustainable and affordable once his income from Amazon started. The landlord was willing to hold the apartment for him, because Sam was able to provide some contracting work to fix it up since it had been damaged from the previous tenants.

After reviewing his documentation and listening to his story, Sam’s case manager explained that we could provide CDBG assistance to pay his security deposit and first month’s rent since his income was lost due to COVID-19. Sam was thrilled! He and his two boys were able to move into the rental the very next day. After weeks of living in a car, this was an emotional moment for the young family.

In addition to moving into the new apartment, we were able to provide some donated cleaning products, get his boys some school supplies, and help him apply for SNAP. We also helped get his utilities turned on, and someone graciously donated a large screen television set which we gave to Sam and his children. They were exceedingly thankful for all the help.

A month later, Sam is working his job at Amazon and making enough money to cover his rent and bills. He is receiving SNAP and is food secure. His children have started school and seem to be very happy in their new place. Sam said he could have never imagined the help he would receive the day he called to make that homeless screening appointment with us. He says he will never forget the support that Catholic Charities has given him for a brand new start.

Thank you to the Walmart Foundation! Through a grant provided by Catholic Charities USA, we have been able to help 150 people apply for SNAP benefits since last November. We are thankful for the Walmart Foundation helping support our efforts to help our neighbors in need.