A former client reached out to our West End WayPoint Center in Lexington, asking for help for a friend, Ashley. She explained to our Community Impact Manager that Ashley was living in a house that only had electricity in two rooms, and the plumbing and heating did not work. Our WayPoint team requested that Ashley call the center, and within the hour, the call came in. Ashley was in tears, but through empathy and encouragement to use resonant breathing, she calmed down and began to tell her story to United Way Community Impact Manager, Gerri Botts Lilly.
Ashley had seven children and was renting a two bedroom house. While she was glad to have a home and didn’t want to seem ungrateful, she wanted her children to be able to eat a home cooked meal and to be able to take warm baths. Since only one bedroom and the bathroom had working electricity, the house had no hot water and neither the fridge or the stove were in working order. They had to fill up buckets with water to flush the commode. On top of all that, the house was infested with mice and other pests. Ashley explained that she worked 40 hours per week and paid her rent, so she was not looking for anyone to give her anything. She had already reached out to her landlord several times over the last two months about the needed repairs, but was afraid he would “put her out” for bothering him. She just didn’t know where to turn.
Gerri praised her strong work ethic and desire to provide for her children, and empathized with her worry of being homeless, but the health and safety concerns of living in a house not up to code were unacceptable. Together they would come up with a plan. Ashley was hesitant, though, and wanted time to think about it.
After a few days, Ashley called again and said, “I don’t really trust people, but I am going to trust you, Gerri because everyone is telling me you really care and won’t lie to me.” At that moment the duo called code enforcement on a 3-way at Ashley’s request. The property was inspected and immediately condemned. Gerri then assisted Ashely in obtaining temporary housing, hygiene items and clothing for each family member.
Five weeks later, Ashley is preparing to move into a 4-bedroom apartment that fits her budget. The family has also been referred for furniture for their safe and secure home. Ashley completed the walkthrough in her new apartment and called Gerri screaming with excitement that she and her children were going to live better than they ever had before. She thanked WayPoint for staying by her side and making sure they were housed and safe.