Barbara and Ellen's Story

Barbara and Ellen’s Story

Do you know of a family who may be facing troubles in silence? 

In the present day, the collective experience faced in the pandemic you can hear from families how they are struggling, how they feel all alone, and it is troubling.  For those whose home has succumbed to the Covid-19 virus can attest to the impact isolation creates and the difficult route back to good health.  You may have seen friends or neighbors dropping off lunch and dinner to help these families or even yours.  Perhaps it is not for friends only to have the duty to care for someone.  A health care visit is a good enough reason to walk up and knock on someone’s door.  If it is you that is willing to do this you can help break the silence of someone suffering isolation due to whatever the reason(s).

In this story about Barbara and Ellen their help came by way of a conversation with the neighbor’s lawn guy.  No one would be able to know their financial struggles over the previous 7 months unless getting to be friends with them.  Those many months they did not make the mortgage payment.  Catching up on their mortgage felt impossible.  They knew it put in jeopardy their being able to keep their home.  Imagine if this happened at the same time when the State Governors and the US President in 2020 asked all Americans to remain at home during the peak of the pandemic.

Barbara and Ellen in 7 months, were hearing, “your home is in danger of going into foreclosure.”  The letters, the phone calls all spiraling out of control in terms of the mounting pressure from the lender to make up missed payments.  It does not matter if it has become an unreasonable expectation to get the sum of payments caught up at once.  The persistence of those notices creates yet another problem and compounded adds up to the impossible and paralysis. What are some next steps to turn the situation around?

Prepare for the unexpected makes for a good mantra pre-covid.  Post-covid, it is essential to prepare and avoid making assumptions about how you can figure it out if something bad happens.  Of course, losing your home is unfathomable and like Barbara and Ellen they held on believing something could stop it from happening.  How do you decide to do something? Remember signs of an unhealthy home environment are sufficient to act on.  A timely intervention by you can possibly change the outcomes a family will experience. 

For Barbara (Bo) and Ellen, Haltom City has been their home for 18 years.  These two ladies have in past years helped their other elderly neighbors by mowing and doing some basic landscaping. Barbara remembers serving sack lunches to the homeless over on Lancaster Ave in Fort Worth as well.  And currently they help take care of another 91-year-old neighbor. They really enjoy an active schedule around their neighborhood, serving where they can.

One typical morning, Barbara & Ellen are outside their home, and they meet JD Skaggs when he shows up to help their neighbor clean up the lawn.  They talk about a few things they have in common with their connection at the Haltom City Senior Center.  Then JD starts looking around their house and says to them, “you all need to get some things fixed.”  He noted the broken window in the back and the rotted-out section of the wall. Ellen explains when it rains it pours inside where they have their bathtub.  Some other needs were obvious to JD with a couple of tarps hanging from a carport cover basically hiding old stuff that should be by the curb ready for trash day.  And many other things that do not need to be mentioned here.  One friendly conversation and JD takes the initial step to intervene.  JD had seen at the Senior Center copies of an application from The Mended Revitalization Program that could be of help to them.

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