Sam had a lot to be thankful for… a good marriage, beautiful children, a job and a home. But his life changed drastically when he was seriously injured at work and declared 100% disabled. Soon after, his wife, Melissa was diagnosed with cancer and became disabled as well. When she died, Sam was left with a broken heart, children to care for and just half of the income he had before tragedy struck. More adversity came his way when his home was seized during the national foreclosure crisis. With very little money in his pocket, all he could afford was a move into a rental house, which also went into foreclosure. When a new owner bought the property from the bank, Sam and his children were evicted and homeless. Through all of his troubles, Sam had held his family together but homelessness now threatened to rip them apart. The thought of losing his kids was too much for Sam to bear.
His life took a turn for the better the day he met a ChildNet Supervisor and Child Advocate who told him about the HEART program at Kids in Distress. After being selected for the initiative, Sam and his children received a housing assistance voucher through the Broward County Housing Authority, financial counseling from the Broward County Urban League and family counseling from Kids in Distress. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing in their current home in Pompano Beach, but knowing his HEART Case Manager, Zelimna, “has his back” makes all the difference. “The story for us is that HEART and the community of people, programs and resources behind them, has been a ‘hand up’ when we needed it most. HEART is not about hand-outs; they want to make sure that we have a solid foundation in place to stabilize and strengthen our family for years to come.”
HEART is a nationwide, 5-year study with the goal of finding new ways to provide services to families at-risk for homelessness and involved in the child welfare system. To learn more about this groundbreaking study, visit our site at: http://kidinc.org/what-we-do/children-family-support/