Family Sleeps Easy with FISH (Families and Individuals Sharing Hope)

By Evie, Housing Specialist

I was asked to tell a story today. A story about my tenant who I eventually found was one of the strongest mothers I have met.

I will start from the beginning…I came to work like any other day and turned my computer on. Step 1. Open email – on this day I found an email from a gal who had received a wait list drop letter. This means we had reached out to her and we had not heard anything from her so she was dropped from the waiting list she had been on since 2017.

She stated that she received this letter at her place of employment, I have no idea how it got there, and that she never received the original letters sent out because she has a ‘safe at home’ address. When someone has a safe at home address it can take weeks to receive mail.

So we added her back to the waiting list and she landed on top! From there we worked her file and got her a beautiful townhouse that was affordable for her and her four boys.

Fast forward to MOVE IN DAY – I finally meet my tenant face to face. As we are going through our required paperwork we get talking about renters insurance. I remember her saying that there’s not much to insure. So, of course, I had to ask why she would say that. This is when she explained that they had to leave all of their belongings with her ex and she has been hiding from him ever since so they couldn’t go back to pick anything up.

At that moment I had to talk about FISH and explain what it is and how it works. She was extremely grateful and from there we came up with a list of items they need.

She then left my office and I went onto the FISH website (of course I forgot my password and had to reset it) and I put in the request.

Before I knew it I had email after email with offers. I will tell you about one offer in particular:

We had an offer of two twin beds and a full size bed and they could deliver to the unit. So I called the gal that was offering to bring these items and set up an evening drop off time and planned on meeting them out there. It was a Tuesday night and I got to the unit and my tenant and her boys were home and ready to help unload! The excitement was refreshing to my soul. True gratitude was shown.

The truck showed up and I watched these 4 little guys lift and move so fast! I sat back and I thought ‘what could my kids ever complain about? We have so much beyond a bed, yet a bed is so much to some’

So the gal who donated stayed and she helped all the boys set their beds up and she brought out brand new bedding and had their rooms looking incredible. They looked like home.

As we were finishing up the youngest boy was going to get ready to go to bed so he was going to brush his teeth. So he takes his toothpaste, puts it on his finger, and brushes his teeth. My heart sank, there was only one toothbrush for all of them. So the next day I updated the need and the River Valley mom’s group provided toothbrushes for these boys.

I asked our tenant if there was anything she would like to say to the FISH community and this is what she had to say:  Letter from Mom and more artwork by kids.

I want to finish by saying this:

I work in housing. For me that means a ton of paperwork and lots of conversation about what not to do when living in our unit. So when we get the chance to work with outside agencies like FISH and we can all come together to show that it takes a village to not only raise our children but lift each other up. To change the “what now?” mind set to the ‘what’s next?’ mind set of a complete stranger because you happen to read an email from FISH. This story brought a new sense of community to my job and what I do. A new meaning.

Thank you.