On Friday afternoon, I received a call from a colleague and friend who, because of her background in a previous role within our State government, received a ‘distress call’ for help from a friend who had just been introduced to a mom (I’ll call her ‘Sara’-not her real name) with 7 children who was facing imminent eviction from her home (a rent to own agreement). Sara’s husband, the primary wage earner, has been unable to provide financial support for the family since October because of his circumstances and therefore the rent has been in arrears since then. I spent the weekend researching possible resources and waiting for a call from my friend to ‘spring’ into action on Monday. IMPACT Phoenix got the call on Monday morning and I went to work. My friend called upon her network to ask them to ‘crowd fund’ the over $2,000 due on rent alone, and several hundred more dollars to meet additional expenses (utilities, car payment, etc.) that were in arrears. Through phone calls with the attorney handling the matter and the property management company handling the rental, and then through a negotiation session with the property management company, IMPACT Phoenix was able to reach an agreement for Sara to pay half the amount in arrears (from the funds raised thus far) and sign a promise to pay agreement for the remaining amount due over the next 6 months. This was all done within 15 minutes of the Constable arriving at the house to lock this family out of their house! My friend raised sufficient money from her efforts and IMPACT Phoenix was able to partner with a church near Sara’s house to also make a significant contribution from their benevolence fund. So as we speak today we have sufficient funds to meet most of Sara’s outstanding obligations which will ‘buy us time’ to work with Sara to ‘re-work’ her ‘new’ life. My friend and IMPACT Phoenix are working together on this situation because it’s complex and my friend has established a trusting relationship with Sara. We’ve connected Sara with employment resources, which she is aggressively pursuing (she has a CNA license, in case anyone knows of an opportunity). We’ve assured ourselves that the children are safe and well taken care of. This will be a difficult uphill climb, but Sara will have a plan and the guidance of IMPACT Phoenix and my colleague/friend to allow her to make the necessary changes to adapt to this new ‘life’. We’re working on creating a wholistic plan to coordinate financial, legal, transportation, belongings, housing, mental health, and spiritual resources (7 of the 15 areas of Sara’s life that need immediate attention) to walk alongside this family.
I share this story for two reasons. First of all, it describes the three important elements of how IMPACT Phoenix makes a difference in the life of someone in crisis: We understand the need, we inspire hope, and we assist in changing Lives. All through this process, IMPACT Phoenix showed that we care, we can help, and we can be trusted. Secondly, IMPACT Phoenix demonstrates how we can provide value to our community. This past weekend I read an article in the Tucson newspaper that states that it costs our State $23 a day to provide for a child in a foster home, and $123 a day in a group home. If Sara and her family were evicted, there is no shelter that would keep Sara and her children together and the children’s guardianship would be transferred to the State. We were able to avoid most importantly the break up of this family but also the cost to us as citizens of this State-up to $5,000 a month for the 7 children if placed in a foster home, or $26,000 a month if placed in a group home. The timely intervention by my friend and colleague, the network of individuals and the church who so graciously gave of their resources, and the skillful, caring approach of IMPACT Phoenix demonstrates the Return On Investment that IMPACT Phoenix provides in our community.