“We Just Needed a Boost…” -Demetrius’s Story
Recently Demetrius shared his family’s story at our Wake Up Your Spirit Breakfast and moved the audience to a standing ovation. Read about their journey here, in his own words.
“The last thing I wanted to do was take my family to the shelter. As a father I felt ashamed, like I had failed the family. I was really hurt, but I knew I couldn’t let my five children sleep in our car.
I was diagnosed with kidney failure. I couldn’t work in the plant anymore. It was hard to match the income for decent housing. I went from making $1,000 a week to $1,000 a month.
My wife Torria went back to work as a bus driver, however we faced another challenge when our townhouse lease was not being renewed under new ownership. We frantically searched for other apartments and houses to rent, but the new places required first and second month’s rent and a security deposit. We didn’t have that kind of money to spare.
When we entered the shelter for the first time, I was prepared for the worst. However, I was completely surprised. Everyone was very nice and one of the sites we were at even let us sleep together in a room as a family. Many of the sites had age appropriate activities for my children, toys and pens and paper.
Despite the friendly and welcoming people we met, I still cried every night, not knowing how we would see this through. My health condition was advancing and the doctor recommended dialysis.
We were homeless for about a week and then everything started falling into place.
Our case manager told us about DuPagePads Housing Now program. This program provides the move-in expenses like first and last months’ rent and a security deposit along with a year of case management services.
I’ll never forget the day we moved in. Our case manager stocked our pantry and gave us gift cards to purchase other necessities.
I can’t tell you how relieved I felt. Knowing I would start dialysis soon, it was nice to have a stable place to recover.
Now that we have a roof over our heads, the kids are happy. They love their new school, they use Chromebook laptops in the classroom and they even get to bring them home to help with their homework. They like having their own space and a yard. Everyone has more freedom.
I have started working as a crossing guard at my kids’ school – where, like most kids their age, they
pretend not to know me.
Despite that, I feel like they have gotten their faith back in their dad and now believe that I can come through for them.
When someone believes in you, everything can change
Our case manager is amazing! My disability income pretty much covers the rent and Torria’s income covers the other bills, but there is not a lot left over for those household items. It means a lot to me that she doesn’t look down on us, but instead provides inspiration and resources and sometimes even just an invitation to lunch at the Client Service Center.
We just needed a boost to keep a loving home and healthy environment for our kids…
Our family would say ‘I’m here for you.’ However, no one came through for us like DuPagePads. You all are like my family now. DuPagePads truly welcomed us like family. It was clear that they sincerely care about our kids and our well-being.”