The following story was posted on TalkPoverty.org: http://talkpoverty.org/2014/05/28/kim/
“Rebuilding Our Life in an Unfamiliar Town” by Kim
In June of 2010, I found myself fleeing domestic violence without any money, unemployed, homeless, and with my two children. Scared for my safety and overwhelmed with the responsibility of rebuilding our life in an unfamiliar town, I had no idea where to begin.
A local crisis center referred me to the Blue Valley Community Action Partnership for assistance with food and housing. After listening to my situation, the staff treated me with dignity as they provided my family with nutritious food from the food pantry, clothing, household goods, and new backpacks full of school supplies for my children. My family was enrolled in the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program, which enabled me to find a safe home by providing temporary financial assistance for rent and utilities.
I enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, so I could buy groceries. And Medicaid provided us with vaccinations, medical and dental care, prescriptions, and counseling services, which allowed my kids to enroll in a new school.
The security of having a home, food, and medical care was a tremendous weight off my shoulders, allowing me to focus on finding employment in our small rural community. In August, two months after initially receiving help, I obtained a part-time job at a retail store. A few weeks later, I became a full-time employee as a case coordinator for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program when it became available at the Blue Valley Community Action Partnership, the same program that originally helped me.
I have now been employed there for more than three years and gained the job skills needed to advance to my current position as a research and development officer.
It has been a struggle to become financially independent; at times I needed to work two jobs and had to rely on income tax credits to make ends meet, but I am fortunate to no longer need assistance for my family’s basic needs.
Kim is a resident of Fairbury, Nebraska. She submitted her story to our partner Half in Ten’s Our American Story project.