Even though it’s behind them, Kat and CJ still get emotional when asked about their time with Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley. Battling homelessness is something they never anticipated.
The couple was raising their daughter Abby while Kat studied for her cosmetology license and CJ worked full time. But when CJ’s boss encountered legal issues and closed his business, CJ was out of work and the family had no income. Suddenly rent was out of the question and they had to give up their home.
They moved into a motel, which made focusing on school especially difficult for eight-year-old Abby. The family’s savings was nearly depleted after one month, and Kat and CJ realized they’d have to find a homeless shelter. They quickly discovered that shelters in their area separated occupants by gender, which meant the family would have to split up. They were devastated at the idea but had no other option.
Then Kat saw a television commercial for Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley (MT) and made one last desperate phone call. With just enough money for two more motel nights, the family was admitted into Family Promise’s emergency shelter program.
“I thought I’d have to quit school and find some other job,” recalls Kat. “Once we found Family Promise, I knew things would be ok.”
Family Promise worked with CJ to find employment, and within two weeks he had a job. Soon after, Kat graduated from school and became a receptionist at a salon while she waited for her cosmetology license to arrive. After three months, the family was able to move into housing and life began returning to normal.
Kat and CJ still work with Family Promise to ensure they stay on track, reviewing budgets and assessing goals. They purchased one car and qualified for a second through the Affiliate’s vehicle donation program after proving they could afford registration, insurance, and maintenance expenses. They’d like to purchase their own home, a goal that seems attainable because of all they’ve learned through Family Promise.
“It’s great to see we can pay all our bills and still have money to save,” says Kat. “We’re doing so much better now because of Family Promise.”