Kathy’s Story

Kathy had been married for over 10 years and has three children. Her husband’s income had afforded her to be a stay-at-home parent. One day her husband came home from work and told her his company was transferring him out of state, and he was accepting the job. He also informed her that he wanted to end their marriage and would not be taking her or the children with him. Kathy was left without income.

A month later, Kathy came to ECHO, the first social service agency she had ever been to. Kathy was behind on rent, no food in the cupboards, and Christmas was right around the corner. ECHO was able to assist Kathy with a week’s worth of food, a month of rent assistance, and Christmas gifts for all three of her children. ECHO client advocates were able to help Kathy get signed up for Food Share, get an appointment with Energy Assistance, and refer her to Legal Action, so she could have free legal help to start the process of receiving child support. Kathy found a job two months after her husband left her, but was barely making enough to cover current bills, much less past due rent she owed.

Kathy has come a long way since she first came to ECHO. She is current with rent, utilities and catching up slowly with other debt. She has found a better paying job and receives Food Share, so she doesn’t have to rely as much on local food panties. She is expecting to start receiving child support shortly.


Robert’s Story

Robert stayed with friends for a few nights at a time, but with no income and no way to pay rent or help with bills. He was unable to stay with anyone for more than a few days. After running out of options, he went to stay at the GIFTS shelter for men. After about two months, he found employment. He left the shelter briefly to stay with a friend to help pay bills and rent but it did not work out well and had to go back to the shelter. GIFTS referred him to ECHO for a program designed to assist singles, who are working, get out of the shelter and into housing. After finding an apartment, ECHO was able to assist him with moving into an apartment and helped him with a past due utility bill so that he could have utilities turned on.

Robert is currently working full-time at a local factory. He still occasionally stops in for food services and help with transportation to make up for some of his daily living expenses. When ECHO contacted his landlord for a six month follow up, he was current on rent and utilities. The landlord also mentioned that he was a great tenant who works on paying rent early if possible. After the six month follow-up, he received another month of rent assistance for completing the program and staying current with rent. The purpose of this bonus month is to help him get ahead on expenses, such as higher heating bills due to the winter months.