Lindsey is instinctively hospitable and welcoming, but if you really want to get her talking, just ask about her son. “That, I could talk to you about for hours! ” Josh has played the saxophone since he was 6 years old and “got a scholarship for music at the University of South Carolina. He’s amazing, he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met, and of course I’m a little biased, but not much.”
Right before Thanksgiving, Lindsey moved into her own apartment after staying in transitional housing for nine months.
For as long as she can remember, Lindsey has identified as “Josh’s mom.” Now an empty-nester, she is glad to actually have her own nest in order to continue to form her future as her son continues to build his own.
Working with CEF
Lindsey connected with CEF while she was living in the Dove House, a transitional housing program run by Housing for New Hope in Durham. She was living with her parents prior to the Dove House, but when her parents moved into assisted living to support her aging mother’s dementia their family home was in foreclosure. For the first time in her life, she found herself facing homelessness.
While at the Dove House, Lindsey worked with her CEF Advocates to accomplish a whole list of goals. “Literally everything that I could have wanted, they figured out a way for me to do it. I don’t know of any other organization that could probably claim that.” Lindsey detailed a quick list:
Making resumes and submitting job applications. “We went from having no prospects of employment to 3 at one time!”
Expunging a dismissed felony charge from her record through connections to legal assistance, which enabled her to get the apartment where she now lives and opening up additional employment opportunities in the future
Saving successfully to attend her son’s graduation and to move into housing. “Working with CEF has actually gotten me to build up a savings account so when I did move out, I had the money to do it.”
Finding housing by searching all around the city and ultimately finding a great one-bedroom near her work, and getting furniture for her new home through community resources
And more! “These are resources that I didn’t even know were out there, but thanks to CEF I was really fortunate to be able to pull things together… And as a result, I have everything I need.”
Saving Early and Often
Lindsey is a big fan of the CEF matched savings account. Lindsey works as a waitress, and shares that “I come home with tip money, and it’s a good and a bad thing, because you’ve got your money right on you if you need it, but it makes it that much easier to go through it .” Yet she is a steadfast saver, quickly reaching her first goals with CEF!
Her advice for other CEF members? “Yes. Save. That’s all I can tell you, even if you think you just might take out a little just to order a pizza. That adds up.” Lindsey’s first savings goals helped her to decorate her house to really make it a home, hanging photos to “remind me of the support network that I have, and that whenever I get flustered I’m not alone, that I have people I could reach out to.”
And she is still saving even after her move! “My savings goals are to make sure that I can live day to day, and cover what my power bill is going to be and what my water bill is going to be so I can estimate and budget for that amount. But short-term I’m saving for Time Warner which will be $150, and I’ve got about $125.”
Goals and Confidence
We are delighted to see Lindsey in her own home, but we are even more thankful to hear her talk about the self-confidence she built while working with her advocates. “Your confidence gets eroded over an amount of time, especially if a lot of bad things continually happen… I became more confident!”
Janet and Yuliya work with Lindsey as her CEF Advocates, and shared what a delight it continues to be. The team would set up on the couch in the living room of the Dove House with their laptop to work with Lindsey through all the steps of her proactive plan during each weekly meeting. Yuliya, a senior at Duke, reflected, “We just learned to break it down into smaller goals because those are much more manageable and easier to accomplish, and that kind of helps build confidence. Because once you reach the first goal, you’re like, okay, that was doable, and I can reach the next step and the next step.”
The whole CEF community shares Lindsey’s joy in gaining a job, securing housing, and building savings, and given how much progress this trio made together in under a year, we know Lindsey is only just beginning to build her future with CEF!