YW Participant and Program Success Stories
Journey to Homeownership
Kathy was a stay-at-home mom who was happy to see her daughter go away to college. Her life was beautiful until her husband was diagnosed with cancer. She decided to get a reverse mortgage and used the money to support her family while she cared for her husband. She found out she wasn’t old enough to be on the reverse mortgage, so she had her name removed from the deed. At the same time her husband was diagnosed, her daughter’s fiance was tragically killed in a car accident. He had left Kathy’s house on his way to work, where he was killed by a drunk driver. Her heartbroken daughter escaped into drugs but luckily received help and has been sober for 12 years, but unfortunately, Kathy’s husband lost his battle with cancer. After he passed, Kathy only had one year to move out of her house of 20 years. Luckily she found temporary rent, but the landlord decided it was time to sell the house.
When YWCA Delaware received her call, YW’s staff immediately connected her to a financial coach. YWCA Delaware helped Kathy step-by-step with improving her credit and offering pre-purchase education to help her buy the house she was renting. Now Kathy is proud to be a homeowner knowing that her home will one day belong to her daughter and grandkids.” The support I received was my lifeline to confidence and success, and without the programs and resources of the YWCA, I would not have been able to realize my dream of becoming a homeowner.
Karen’s youngest daughter’s father tried to take her life. Knowing her daughter was upstairs, she put up the fight of her life, causing his gun to go off. This alerted her daughter, who ran downstairs to help, and that is when he pointed the gun toward her. Without any thought, Karen picked up her daughter and ran out of the house with him still firing at both of them. Luckily her neighbors hid her in their home and called the police. Beaten, bruised, and bloody, she waited until the next day to go to the hospital and met a caseworker who helped her into a domestic violence shelter in Philadelphia. She was there for about a month when her first court date came up, and decided to stand up for herself.
While in the courtroom, her abuser’s brother had told her a friend of his saw her walking with her daughter near the shelter, and if she didn’t tell the courts it wasn’t his brother, he would kill her and her daughter. Karen was quickly moved out of state, and the Philadelphia safehouse Advocates found her a place to stay at a Delaware Domestic Violence Shelter. During her stay, she finally felt like she was free. She went to therapy sessions, found a job, and started her life back on track until covid.
She worked in the medical field and was told that because she came into contact with patients frequently, it was no longer safe for other ladies and their children for her to stay at the shelter. She and her daughter became homeless in a new state where she knew no one. She lived in her car for about a month until she saved enough money to rent an Airbnb. She worked overtime, close to 50 hours a week, to maintain housing until her daughter ended up getting extremely sick.
She had to stay in the hospital, reducing her hours. At the risk of being homeless with her children again, she called around while in the hospital and came across our Sexual Assault Response Center (SARC) number (800-773-8570). Feeling broken and hopeless, a woman answered the phone. Karen broke down as she explained what she had been through for almost a year. SARC immediately accepted her emergency case at our Home-Life Management Center.
Three days into being at Home Life, Karen found another job, set goals, and found an unbreakable support system that helped her beyond belief. At the shelter, she was the first person up and the last person coming in because she worked 12-hour shifts to save towards her goals. SARC provided Karen with counseling, and within two months, she had saved up so much money that she went back to her caseworker asking for help to find her kids and her a home.
Our team advocated for Karen, and in March 2021, Karen moved into a new apartment. Her SARC Advocate was able to purchase new beds and furniture for the apartment and provided Karen with resources to help her catch up on rent when she was hospitalized for Covid.
When Karen was getting back to work and catching up on her bills, her SARC Advocate provided food and a Walmart gift card so she could purchase Christmas presents for her girls.
Karen’s oldest daughter recently graduated with almost a full scholarship to Newman University, and Karen just enrolled in Delaware Tech’s Associate Degree Nursing (RN).
Karen and her family could not be happier now that they have been in their apartment for almost two years. Whenever she needed help, she could reach out to our agency to get the resources and help she and her family needed. “YWCA helped me gain my strength back and see things domestic violence had me too scared to see. I was no longer in this world alone as a battered, abused, and scared woman.”
As Karen shared her story, she remembered how hopeless she felt making the initial phone call to our SARC crisis line. When she heard the warm voice over the phone for the first time in a long time, she felt she had hope and someone who cared about her.
Returning to Civilian Life
At Home-Life Management Center, our clients face a myriad of circumstances that have led to homelessness and instability for their families. One such client is Katrina, a US veteran who was honorably discharged and faced displacement challenges when returning to civilian life. After serving her country, she struggled to find gainful employment for more than six months. She lost her apartment and was forced to sleep in her car with her young daughter. She was even denied a hotel voucher because of a technicality that made her unable to qualify as homeless. After reaching out to 211, where housing providers coordinate services through the Homeless Planning Council, Katrina and her daughter were placed at Home-Life Management Center. She and her case manager got right to work on a plan for her to get long-term, safe and stable housing. She couldn’t believe the many resources available to her. Through Rapid Re-housing – which offers down payment and utility assistance, a quick placement for housing, and supportive services such as budgeting, job training, and others to stabilize the family – Katrina and her daughter moved into her own place in a week’s time.
Facing Early Retirement - Foreclosure Prevention
Phillip’s first modification request was denied because of his upcoming early retirement. The bank offered short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure as his only options based on his financial situation at the time. However, his counselor wouldn’t accept this and suggested that he consider using the available space in his large home to generate additional income since the loss of income was the primary reason for the denial of the modification.
One of Phillip’s sons agreed to move into his home, and with the small amount of income generated from his rent payments, they were able to get his modification approved and saved his home! In addition, Phillip’s demeanor has changed, and he has a new lease on life, and is considering YWCA’s self-employment training offered in WAND to start a BBQ business.