Couple finds second chance and stable home after pursuing help at Fort Collins shelter
After successfully completing the family shelter program at Samaritan House Fort Collins, Andrew can’t wait to give back.
“It was a good program. We’re very thankful for it,” he said of he and his wife Victoria’s experience at the shelter in Fort Collins. “I’d like to go back to Catholic Charities and volunteer or work there. I think I’d be really good at it.”
Andrew and Victoria found not only a home at Samaritan House Fort Collins during their stay but were able to get their 9-year-old son back. After a bout with job loss, homelessness and struggle for sobriety, they lost their son through Child Protective Services. They came to Samaritan House Fort Collins for help but their short stay - leaving to move in with family - and lack of savings wasn’t enough to get them on their feet.
The family came back to join the family program in May 2019 to restart again. During their nine months, the pair saved $9,000, took classes through the family treatment court, found affordable housing and jobs, and received clothing and warm meals. Victoria also received her driving license and they purchased a Honda Odyssey. They stayed in the men and women's dorm separately before moving into the family program with their son.
“It was a rough year,” Andrew said without their son but were thrilled when the Family Treatment Court granted his return to them. Within months of being reunited, they moved into their own apartment.
“They were a big support,” Andrew said. “(Our case manager) made a big difference. The only reason we got housing was because of her. We liked being there. The staff was good. We got clothing, hygiene items, gift cards and got a lot of help from state department.”
Since setting up their new home and after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, both Andrew and Victoria were laid off from their jobs in the restaurant and cleaning services industry. However, Andrew has been eligible for COVID-19 unemployment. Because of their savings while at Samaritan House Fort Collins, the family has been able to pay bills and stay in their apartment without worry of a return to homelessness.
“We are stocked up and our bills are paid,” he said. “Our son is doing online school now through a webcam on the internet.”
He added, “We’ve been really good.”