This Lent has been a tough one for my family, as I mentioned briefly here. Considering that so many are asking for help on our behalf– including Father Z, George Vogt, and Sofia Guerra — I thought it best that I give an overview and a thank you for all the help. I am hesitant because the last time I blogged about being in need, a social worker came knocking on our door and did a home and finance inspection to see if we needed to be put on the government dole. Since that happened, I remain hesitant to write on my blog that we are in need. At the same time, if you don’t tell people that you’re in need, no one will help. I will share as much as I think is reasonable, given the circumstances. Also, this is not just about me, but also about three of my five brothers. (UPDATE: The other two are disabled and in nursing homes. One of them is a veteran.)
The situation is that our furnace went out, as well as the electricity in two rooms. We had to shut off the main power switch due to the risk of fire, and turn off the water to prevent the water pipes from freezing. Technically, we are homeless. One of my brothers (Brother A) who was living with us, is also now left to find another place to stay. Technically, he is also homeless.
We were living in my parents’ home. My dad passed away in 2000 and my mom now lives with one of my brothers (Brother B) in another state. That brother has been paying our utilities. When the furnace and some of the electricity went out, we had to act quickly to find a place to stay, because it is quite cold. Another of my brothers (Brother C) took us in temporarily while we looked for other (affordable) housing. Brother C has a property tax bill that he cannot afford to pay. If it is not paid, his home can be sold to pay the tax. (In my mind, it is criminal to tax someone out of their home, but it’s the law.) Brother C is a teacher whose class budget was just cut to zero, which makes it more difficult to justify his job. Brother B, who has been paying our utilities, is retired military. He has served in combat situations, but this situation “hits home,” if you will. Brother B works for a defense contractor which, ironically, provides electricity generators for our troops in the field. With the military budget cuts, his pay has been cut in half. He is fortunate because his company has let 300 people go. Brother B cannot really afford to continue paying our utilities for us, even if we got the furnace and electricity fixed. Also, he does not want to sell the family home. It is there precisely so that if anyone in the family is ever unable to find affordable housing (such as me and my kids, at the moment), then we can always stay there.
Since Father Z, George and Sofia put out the call for help, a total of $2300 has come into my PayPal account. We are very grateful for this assistance as it has given us breathing room. At this point, we’re trying to decide what is the best way to use this money. We don’t know how much it will take to get the heat and electricity fixed at my mother’s house. If a new furnace is necessary, we will not be able to afford it. Perhaps alternative heating is an option. We have raised enough to get into a rental apartment, but then comes the problem of being able to afford that long-term. Plus, to do that, we have to get rid of all of our chickens and our pets. This is very hard on children who are already going through a great deal.
This is our situation at the moment. We are kind of “stuck” in determining exactly what to do. It is pretty clear that we are going to be okay for a while, but we’re not sure about six weeks or six months from now. There are a lot of other details that impact this situation which I am not sharing here, so please don’t send me advice on what to do. We will figure this out eventually. I do ask for prayer and am most grateful for what has come in so far.