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The Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story by Matthew Wagner


Growing up I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” segments in which he provided backstories on famous people and events. As I reflected on the numbers of cases that we’ve seen in the last two months since we’ve really started promoting our Wheels UP and Move UP programs, I thought you might be interested in hearing “the rest of the story” behind some of those numbers.

  • A mother in an abusive relationship along with her three children and her 1-year-old granddaughter. They could get into Shalom House (shelter) in Harrisburg, but not for a week, and the mother was about to have a mental breakdown because she couldn’t get away. We were able to put them in a hotel until they could get into Shalom House.

  • A family had moved into their parents’ home to save money to buy their first home. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter the landlord sold the parents’ home and told them they had to be out within 60 days. We were able to provide them with first month rent and deposit to get an apartment for them and their 4 children so they could get back on their feet.

  • A family rented a lot and trailer, but the mother doesn’t understand English very well, so, she didn’t realize they had to pay rent for both the lot and the trailer. They were about to be evicted, along with their three children, for not paying their lot rent, until we were able to catch them up. We caught them up, and now they are still housed.

That’s three families, including 17 people and 12 children, who have a permanent place to live instead of being on the street because of you. These families weren’t just given the money. They earned it through doing financial literacy classes that they will continue. And, they are being asked to pay a portion of this money back to help sustain the program moving forward. Thank you for helping to be a part of the “Rest of these Stories”.

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The Other Rest of the Story

Unfortunately, there are many more stories just like the ones you read above. We received over 100 requests for assistance in the month of June (not including requests for shelter). Our challenge right now is that we are spending so much time fielding those calls, we barely have the time to process the requests. Would you, or someone you know, be able to help us out by answering the phones a couple hours a day once a week or once a month? If so please, reach out to Susan at susan@familypromisehcr.org and let her know that you want to be part of the rest of someone’s story! Thank you!

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Here to Help by Susan Ryder


“I have a job, and money for rent, and an apartment ready. I just don’t have the $1,500 for security deposit and first month’s rent,” said a woman on the other end of the phone in the fall of last year. Crushed for this woman, who had so many things in place and just needed a break, I had nothing to offer her. There was little local nonprofit money for such expenses, and this type of help was not part of Family Promise HCR programming at the time.


Similar calls came in, some from people who needed help to stave off eviction, due to back rent caused by a myriad of situations. I knew that with an eviction, in the present housing environment, it would be dang near impossible for callers to find another place to rent.


People needed help with car repairs, that would enable them to keep their jobs, but the amazing Good Karma Garage, which helped people in these situations, was booked out a month. It was sad and frustrating to receive these calls, knowing that this could begin the domino effect of homelessness for folks—lose transportation, lose job, lose housing.


THEN, we received a grant which would allow us to address these problems for individuals, with the Move UP and Wheels UP programs. Now when someone calls, we can be a part of the solution for them, and divert them from eviction, homelessness, and a dismal future for rental accessibility.


Move UP can also help with security deposits and utility bills. Wheels UP allows us to help folks with car repairs, expenses to get a license, and with a downpayment on a car. This is life changing stuff!


With some parameters, like partial payback, and short financial and good tenancy classes, folks can now participate in their own future with hope. And the partial payback allows them to participate in helping someone else by making the program sustainable.


It feels amazing to be a part of that solution for folks…to hear the relief on the other end of the phone when I say, “We have a program for that.”


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