Sparkle is a 37 year old mother of two children, Jeremy is a 15 year-old that attends Grand Prairie High School and 10 year-old Michael attends Lee Elementary. Sparkle and her husband had been married for 16 years when he left her and the kids. Her husband was the only source of income for the family. When he left, Sparkle had no job, no money, and no means of paying the bills. She became delinquent with her apartment rent and was served an eviction notice. Her youngest child went to school and told his teacher he was concerned about losing their apartment. The teacher contacted the school counselor, who then referred Sparkle to LifeLine Shelter for Families. Sparkle came to our program in late August of this year. LifeLine was able to intervene with the eviction and provided Sparkle and her children with rental assistance, life skills training, and much needed referrals to other agencies that would be able to help her in other areas such as food and clothing. LifeLine’s Case Manager referred Sparkle to Health and Human Services to obtain food stamps and Medicaid for the children. She was also referred to counseling services for depression, where a counselor prescribed medication to help Sparkle. LifeLine put Sparkle on a job search to obtain employment. As of mid September, Sparkle had secured employment with Texas Health Arlington as a certified nurse’s assistant. LifeLine has referred Sparkle to a pro bono attorney to get child support set up for Jeremy and Michael. LifeLine will continue to help Sparkle with rental assistance until we know she’s capable of paying her rent independently. Sparkle says she will be ready to stand on her own two feet by November.
Mallory is a single mother of three girls; Dianna is 16, Michele is 15, and Miracle is 5. Earlier this year Mallory learned that she had a mass in one of her breasts. After extensive testing and a biopsy, she learned that she was in stage three breast cancer. Fortunately, she had medical insurance to pay the bulk of medical services and most of the treatment. The oncologist set up Mallory for a chemotherapy regimen as an out-patient for six weeks, then she would have surgery to remove the breast and lymph nodes, and finally she would be scheduled for two months of radiation. This was an emotional, as well as educational process for Mallory and her children. She decided not to tell her youngest child about the cancer because she felt like she would not understand and was concerned about how she would react to the treatments and after effects. So she decided to send Miracle to stay with a friend from church during most of the process. She would visit Miracle on good days or have her friend bring her over to their apartment for a couple of nights here and there. The older girls remained at home to help with recovery. Mallory began her chemo treatments and soon realized that she would not be able to work for a couple of days after each treatment due to the immense sickness from the medicine. She used all of her sick and vacation time during the first four weeks of chemo. From that point, Mallory was not earning while out of the office. She was down to working two paid days a week. For the surgery, Mallory’s employer let her take off work using Family Medical Leave Act, however, she was not paid during this time. She quickly began to realize she could not pay her bills and apartment rent. Although the apartments worked with Mallory on extending the time she would have to pay rent, the late fees kept adding up. The apartment manager suggested talking with the GPISD counselor to see if she could get a referral to LifeLine Shelter for Families. She explained that there was another tenant in the apartment complex that was also helped by LifeLine very recently. Mallory received the referral and LifeLine was able to assist. The LifeLine Case Manager went to Mallory’s apartment for the first two meetings because Mallory was in so much pain and unable to drive. She’s doing much better now and able to come to the LifeLine office for visits by the grace of a friend driving her. Mallory has done well since her surgery and all three girls are back together with their mother. The girls continue to struggle with the changes in appearance of their mother, but realize how lucky they are to still have her. LifeLine continued to help Mallory and her girls for a total of four months and she is now financially stable once again.
“Josh and Dana”
Josh and Dana were the typical middle income family with three children living in Grand Prairie. Josh worked for a manufacturing company for 18 years and served as a Deacon at their church and Dana was a receptionist for a doctor’s office. In 2004, they purchased their own home and was living the American dream. In February of 2015, Dana left her job of 12 years to become more active in their kids school lives. Joey was in 4th grade, Leah was in 7th grade, and Marcy had just started high school. Life was going well for this family until Josh was laid off in the early summer due to a company downsize. They were not too concerned about money because they had built up a nest egg over the years and Josh thought he would have no trouble finding a job. They continued to pay their bills and mortgage through 2015 but things started to get tight, as Josh had still not found work. The family began selling their furniture, toys, old clothes, dishes, and anything else they felt like they could live without, just to pay the bills. In the meantime, Dana was also looking for work, but could not find anything with her limited skills. She began babysitting for friends, which was paying part of the bills. Unfortunately, they were not able to pay their mortgage and lost their home to foreclosure in March of 2016. They bounced around from family to friends, living on couches and floors for months. Dana was no longer able to babysit due to their living arrangements. The kids school grades began to suffer and their attendance was on the decline as well. Stress and questionable living conditions began to take its toll on the family. In July, Dana began working for a temp agency as an administrative assistant, with the hope of being hired full-time within a couple of months. Three weeks later, Dana was hired on full-time. For the first time in over a year, things were looking up. They now had to find a more permanent solution to living, but they did not have enough money to secure an apartment on their own. A counselor at Grand Prairie Independent School District noticed the low attendance for Joey and checked on the other two children’s attendance records as well. It was not normal for students to have low attendance near the beginning of the school year, so the counselor contacted the parents for a conference. That was when the counselor learned of their homeless situation. They were referred to LifeLine Shelter for Families for assistance. Josh came in to visit with LifeLine for help. Within a week, LifeLine was able to help Josh find an apartment and make arrangements for their move in. We worked with other organizations to acquire a few essentials such as beds, linens, dishes, etc. LifeLine helped Josh and his family for a second month to assist with a portion of their rent. Josh tells us that he is on the short list for a job as a chaplain at a hospital in Dallas. He also said that by having a place for him and his family to live the past month has given him the uninterrupted time to get his chaplain’s certificate and badge so that he can work to help others.
For more information about Lifeline Shelter, visit: http://www.lifelineshelter.org/