While my wife and I had our fair share of troubles, we always worked and were able to provide for our family. We thought we were doing okay, even though our lives were often more chaotic than we would have liked. We have 6 children so we assumed that was just part of life. We were surviving.
The Unthinkable Happens
After working as an engineer for three years, my company laid me off. Being unemployed was new to me and we soon found ourselves in deep financial trouble. We lost our house and had to move in with my father—all 8 of us in his small apartment. Not only was I unemployed, but my family was now homeless. I was desperate. I didn’t think things could get worse, but they did. My father received an eviction notice because he was breaking his lease by having all of us live with him. I had exhausted my resources and my family’s.
After seeing a counselor at HopeNet for a while, she suggested I look into Resource Coaching. I started working with my coach in December and the progress we have been able to make is shocking.
A Hand Up with Resource Coaching
When I came into my first coaching session, I had so many urgent problems, I didn’t know where to start. I was trying to solve all of them at once and was getting nowhere. The first thing my coach and I did was make a list of all our most urgent needs. We were able to narrow my list to three main needs: housing, employment, and debt consolidation. That first meeting we focused just on housing, which was our most urgent need.
I had gotten to end of my own resources. But I was so surprised to find out how many resources there are available to us through other non-profits and government agencies. I am a veteran, and have many available resources because of that. I had no idea! Many people think the VA takes care so many things, but I was completely unaware that I was able to be part of a VA housing program that helped us get into a house before my father lost his apartment.
The next time I met with my coach, we focused on the next need: employment. He helped me find Manpower. With their help I updated my resume and could apply to jobs in a new field. They are helping me apply to jobs I would have never been able to find on my own. I have a lot of hope that I will be able to find a new job based on the help I am receiving. It makes such a difference to feel that hope. Since we have housing secured, I am able to focus more on finding a job. When you are not sure if your children will have a roof over their heads, it’s hard to put your energy into finding the right job.
The last time I met with my coach, we talked about debt consolidation. With all the struggles we have had, my wife and I have a lot debt. But I now know several places to call to help us manage that. As soon I am able to get to a job, we will begin working on that. My coach helped me lay out the steps I need to take and helped me create a plan.
Finding your Team
One of the things that helped me so much in resource coaching was learning who to call. I had no idea. I had tried and tried on my own and got nowhere. It really is who you know, not what you know. It was scary how much I didn’t know, even though I had been working full-time most of my adult life.
Coming to HopeNet, I have begun to understand my journey like a game of basketball. You can’t be on a team by yourself. You need a coach. You need teammates. I was trying to figure out how to win by myself and it wasn’t working. The team I was playing against—my unemployment, homelessness, and debt—were too strong for me by myself. The people at HopeNet have become my team. They are helping me get the ball to the hoop and encouraging me when I get tired. God is my coach and I am learning to listen to him more and more. I need his direction every day.