When Ashley and her five children arrived in Charlotte two years ago, she was determined to do everything possible to keep her family safe. Having escaped an abusive marriage after several failed attempts to leave, Ashley was excited to begin the next chapter of her life in the Queen City. It was close enough to her tiny hometown in rural South Carolina that she could reach out to family if necessary but far enough away from her ex-husband that she didn’t need to live in fear anymore.
“I’ve always been one to do what I have to do for my kids. I don’t care what sacrifices I have to make. I’m not one to give up easy.”
One of the biggest challenges Ashley has faced is keeping her family housed. Twice during her previous attempts to flee domestic violence, she and the children were forced to live in homeless shelters, and that’s an experience she never wants to go through again. So, when the pandemic hit last year and Ashley lost her job as a substitute teacher for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, panic understandably set in.
At first, Ashley made ends meet by working for a staffing company, taking on flexible daily jobs that allowed her to work around the children’s schedules. But finding reliable childcare for her children, whose ages range from 5 to 13, was challenging and expensive. All the while, she was falling farther and farther behind on car payments, ultimately losing the vehicle to repossession.
Meanwhile, the eviction moratorium ensured that the family could remain in their home, but Ashley worried about the inevitable lifting of that protection. She made partial rental payments to the landlord as she could, but her balance was getting larger every month. After a year of juggling and struggling, and with the moratorium about to end, Ashley realized she needed help to pay the amount owed. Otherwise, she and the children faced the prospect of homelessness.
Anxious and uncertain about what to expect, Ashley turned to Crisis Assistance Ministry. Fortunately, her anxiety soon turned to relief. After a phone interview with an empathetic caseworker, Ashley learned that the agency would cover a large portion of her balance by sending a check directly to her landlord. Ashley was able to negotiate a reduction in the amount owed and then pay the remaining balance herself. Although accustomed to being self-sufficient and caring for her family alone, Ashley is glad she decided to reach out in her time of need.
“I’m not one to let my pride get in the way of getting my life where it needs to be. I’m not shy on any resources that the community has to offer because if I can’t do it on my own and I don’t have the support from family, then I know there’s someplace I can reach out to for help.”
To the generous donors whose financial gifts made that assistance possible, Ashley says:
“Thank you. Without you, I would more than likely have been on the street or even back home, back in the situation I worked so hard to get out of. You helping gave me hope and took a lot of stress out of my life.”
For over 20 years, Crisis Assistance Ministry has been encouraging donors and supporters to forgo the cost of attending a gala, stay home, and make a gift to make a difference.
With your help, we can positively impact the families in our community seeking a hand up with their basic needs.