Since opening it's doors in 1982, Nicholas House has supported over 2,000 formerly homeless families in their journey back to self-sufficiency. Below are three of their stories:
Ms. Donald: 3 Goals on the Road to Self-Sufficiency
Ms. Donald and her five-year old daughter Skye arrived at Nicholas House after her roommate’s husband returned from Iraq and asked them to leave the apartment they were living in. She knew that she had to get her life straight for the sake of her daughter’s future. With the help of her case manager she set 3 goals for herself to achieve: first, obtain a better paying job in her field as a licensed nurse practitioner; purchase a car; and lastly, rent an apartment in a neighborhood suitable for her and Skye.
Today, having graduated from the Nicholas House program, Ms. Donald has a good paying job working in her field as a LPN at Grady Hospital with the prospect of increasing her income even more when she finishes her training to become a full fledged RN. She also was able to move into an apartment where she and Skye have resided happily for over 9 months.
As for the goal of getting a car, not only does she have a 2004 Chevy Malibu, but she just passed one of the first real tests of her newfound financial independence when she was able to have the car repaired with money she had saved up for just that purpose.
“Nicholas House gave us a place to stay and taught me how to set and achieve goals for myself and manage my money. I don’t know what we would have done without them.” - Ms. Donald
Justin: Full Circle Giving
When Justin’s mom came to Nicholas House, she was suffering from clinical depression and had just lost her second job in a year. She was a single mom with five boys ages 15, 13, 11, 4, and a newborn. Justin, the oldest, was a star student at a science magnet school in another school district.
Every morning Justin would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to make sure that his brothers had their breakfast and were ready for school. He then began his arduous trek of 2 bus changes and a train ride to school. In the afternoon, he would repeat the process back home, and would sometimes take his brothers for walks to give his mom a break. He also would set aside time to mentor his young brother, Korey, who was not adjusting well to the families homelessness situation and had behavioral problems at school. Justin would then stay up late at night doing his homework and repeat the process again in the morning.
While at Nicholas House, Justin’s mom was able to connect to mental health resources through her Case Manager and eventually found work that provided a living wage for the family. They were then able to move into a three bedroom apartment of their own. Justin graduated from high school and is now applying to Dartmouth, UGA, and Auburn University. Plus, Justin still “gives back” by taking two bus connections twice a week to Nicholas House where he and his brother Korey serve as volunteers in the after-school program.
Ms. Prancy: To get my dream home back
Ms. Prancy worked for a major Atlanta corporation. Then she lost her job because of downsizing. The divorced mother of four children immediately sought a new position, but with very specialized skills a new job was far from coming. Bills piled up. Savings dwindled down. She struggled to juggle the competing family needs and expenses. The pressure and worry became overwhelming. Depression set in. She had lived in her suburban, 4-bedroom house for 3 years. But now her home was foreclosed.
“The guilt of letting my children down hurts. I promised them they’d never lack. I never thought I could be in this situation. Being homeless was for other people who didn’t work hard. Not me or my children.”
After going back and forth with different friends or family, Ms. Prancy and her four children found themselves at Nicholas House. Using the services and resources provided, Ms. Prancy was able to find employment at Emory Hospital as a Medical Assistant, and enrolled her children in Nicholas House’s afterschool program and 9-week summer camp.
Now earning $11.65 per hour, full-time she desired to repurchase her home. She continued to track it on the Internet as a still vacant, unsold house. While her income was just not enough, she worked diligently and was able to slowly reconcile her debts. Three years after having been laid off, and a year of staying at Nicholas House, she regained a permanent position with a major corporation in Atlanta. She started her new job in December of 2007 with a salary the same as before she was originally laid off. With better control and knowledge of finances, a significant amount of past debt paid off and over $3000 in savings, Ms. Prancy is on her way to her dream of getting her house back. She hopes to get pre-qualified for a home at an upcoming visit with a home buying specialist, and be in her dream home by the end of the summer.