Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ’s new Heart Room program demonstrates that when we come together as a community, we can make a difference.
Last summer, Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ (ORUCC) launched Heart Room, a pilot program to help six families with young children find and keep stable housing. Partner agencies including The Road Home, Early Childhood Initiative (ECI), and Joining Forces for Families (JFF) provide needed support. The project has been a success with families making progress on goals they set for themselves. Here’s one story:
Camila* is the mother of one adult child (age 21) and two younger children who are still at home. Camila works both a full-time and a part-time job, but the family has still continued to struggle financially. As the family’s challenges grew, Camila sought help from JFF. Through JFF, the family got connected to Heart Room.
Heart Room assistance helped the family move from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom apartment where the children could have the space they needed. Heart Room also helped the family weather some new financial difficulties and the family car broke down. For a family who was already struggling, these added challenges could’ve left the family homeless if it were not for Heart Room rental assistance. Having the assurance of rental assistance through Heart Room also greatly decreased the stress in the household. Helyn Luisi-Mills, a case manager at The Road Home, has worked with the family, helping them set goals as they work toward greater stability. ORUCC volunteers have also helped, providing short-term algebra tutoring for a teen in the summer and helping Camila with English language practice.
Heart Room demonstrates that when we come together as a community, we can make a difference!
*Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.