The Value of One
One person willing to do the work to change, one family banding together to create support, one church member willing to listen, one homeless shelter able to provide assistance, one staff member willing to encourage, one employer ready to give an opportunity, one success story inspiring others to succeed.
The value of one is quite remarkable if you take the time to notice, to care and to help another person in need.
Sometimes it is easy to overlook how each of us is connected to each other and how one person’s daily life can negatively or positively impact a whole community. What is the value of one single mother with two children living in our community?
- Jennifer works full-time at a local business.
- She pays rent to her landlord allowing him to pay his mortgage, local property taxes and homeowners insurance.
- Jennifer shops at the local grocery store.
- She buys gas at the local gas station and car repairs from a local mechanic.
- She takes her children to local Physicians and Dentists.
- On Sunday mornings the entire family goes to church. Jennifer gives what little she can to support the church that has been so supportive to her and her boys during their difficult times.
- Jennifer is a part-time student at Edison College in Punta Gorda.
- Twice every year Jennifer’s parents visit from New York. They love Port Charlotte and can’t wait to retire here. Since Jennifer’s house is so small, they stay at a hotel, treat the family by dining out, take the grandkids to play miniature golf and frequent matinees at the movie theater.
One day, Jennifer will reach her goal of being a teacher and will then give back to her community.
The value of one success is priceless.
What does the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition do?
- Provide Emergency Shelter: At the Safe House Emergency Shelter, we provide up to 60 days of shelter for people and families in crisis. Read More
- Strive for Homeless Prevention: The primary focus of the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition’s Homeless Prevention Program is to help families stay in their homes. Each month hundreds of families come to us in need of resources to prevent eviction and/or utility disconnection. Read More
- Hunger Prevention: our Food Pantry is open on Mondays between 1 pm and 4 pm to distribute a three-day supply of food to needy families and a Hot Meals Program open 365 days per year serving a nutritious breakfast and dinner. Read More
- Continuum of Care: As the Lead Agency (designated by HUD), the Coalition organizes the collaboration of 65 local agencies to address the needs of clients and provide essential services. A major priority of the Coalition is to avoid overlapping of services. Read More
- 10-Year Plan now published: In October 2010, community leaders of Charlotte County formed a steering committee to find resolutions through the development of a 10-year plan. Using the expertise of service providers, government officials, and homeless experts, the plan was designed to specifically address the needs of Charlotte County’s homeless and extremely low income population... Read More
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The Value of One Success...
The Story of Christina
Christina is a pretty young woman, always upbeat and polite. Looking at her you can tell she takes pride in herself, from the way she walks and talks, to how well she dresses herself. With her bright eyes and easy smile, if you passed her on the street you would never think she is homeless.
Christina was born and raised in Florida. She had two children at a young age, worked hard, had a home that she maintained, and supported herself and her sons. The father of the boys left when they were young. Although Christina had a job, there was drug use within the work place, and eventually she got caught up in that life style. She moved in with her grandmother for a period of time in order to get clean so that she could get professional help.
Christina did get clean and spent four months in a program, then began to attend church and made some good friends. Things were better for Christina, but she was having trouble finding work. She spoke with a friend from church and expressed her fears, having no employment to support herself and her sons; and the fear that she would again become involved with the people and the life style that she had worked so hard to escape. Thankfully the friend took the time to listen; took the time to care. She suggested that Christina check out the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.
Christina had been homeless since December 2009 when she moved into the shelter April 4, 2010 and found employment within 3 to 4 weeks afterwards. When I asked her what her thoughts were in coming to the shelter, she told me that she was not nervous, that the facility is clean and comfortable and that she feels safe. This has not always been the case for Christina. I asked her how the Homeless Coalition had helped her and she replied that a large part of her success was due to the fact that the staff continued to push her forward; they encourage her and would not let her give up. They told her she needed to find employment, telling her to go to places in person, do the leg work.
Christina feels good about her work and the progress she is making for herself and her sons. She enjoys the time she spends in success review meetings with Shelter Staff. Christina went into business after business asking to fill out applications. Then she walked into Phil’s and asked if they were hiring wait staff and she heard a voice behind her say “you are the answer to my prayers;” she had the job. She enjoys working at Phil’s and her employer likes her and her work.
Christina’ children are doing well in the shelter. They attend school, enjoy the playground outside and have made new friends. On September 30th Christina’s family moved to Punta Gorda where she will be close to work and close to the boys’ new school. They are very happy and proud to be moving back into a home of their own. Christina has goals for her future including keeping her sobriety, staying in a structured life style and to watching out for any co-dependency issues in her relationships.