Jim & Suzy’s Path to a New Beginning

Jim & Suzy

Jim & Suzy’s Path to a New Beginning

Jim and Suzy found themselves in a challenging situation when their landlord sold their building to new owners who demanded higher rent. With Suzy recovering from a hip injury, Jim having mobility challenges himself, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating their financial struggles, they faced eviction and the loss of many belongings. After exhausting their savings and spending time living in motels and their car, they were fortunate to connect with Nancy Griffin, a Community Service Coordinator at the Upper Valley Haven.

After connecting with Nancy, Jim and Suzy moved into Hixon House Adult Shelter once there was an available room for them to be in together. Their initial room was on the lower level, requiring the use of the elevator and a walk down the hall to get to their room. While not being ideal for their mobility challenges, it got them inside and out of their car. Once a room became available on the upper level, their Service Coordinator, Emily Healy, assisted them, and their beloved cat, Thumper, in transitioning to the new space.

During their stay at Hixon, the staff provided crucial emotional support, which Jim and Suzy described as staff going “above and beyond” to assist them. They were particularly grateful for the compassionate care they received during Jim’s illness with COVID-19. They shared, “the comfort level and emotional support that we felt while staying in Hixon were by far more than we could have expected.” The shelter became their home for six months, and they formed strong bonds with both staff and guests.

Throughout their stay, Emily continued to support them by working together to meet their medical, dental, financial, and budget goals. Their weekly updates and meetings with her kept them focused on their ultimate goal. This experience in the shelter shifted their previous perception of homelessness, highlighting the importance of perseverance and seeking available resources. They emphasized the supportive community at Hixon, where monthly house meetings provided insight into others’ diverse experiences.

Despite facing serious housing availability challenges and being on many waiting lists in NH, VT, and ME, where one to two year waiting lists are the reality for most, with assistance from Emily, Jim and Suzy secured a 2-bedroom subsidized apartment in Pittsfield, NH, where they now reside among a welcoming community. While preparing to move, Emily applied for funding assistance from the Housing Opportunity Grant Program (HOP) which covered a variety of expenses including a bed, the security deposit, and first month’s rent, enabling Jim and Suzy to settle into their new home comfortably and without further financial burden. Jim and Suzy are grateful for the ongoing support from the Haven and were eager to share their positive experiences so their story could impact others in need.

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