Josh** was laid off in mid-March of 2020, as many businesses began to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a father of four and his household’s only source of income, he was naturally panicked about how to make ends meet in the weeks ahead. Josh reached out to the Community Resource Center of Teton Valley seeking assistance with his rent for April. Thanks to the generous supporters who fund our mission to serve individuals and families experiencing a crisis, we were able to provide direct and immediate financial assistance. While our case manager was working with Josh, we helped make him aware of several other resources in Teton Valley that could help support his family.
Here’s a summary of what that help looks like in action:
-Josh became aware of the Teton Valley Food Pantry location and hours of operation, and was connected with a community volunteer who delivered hot meals to his family.
-The Community Resource Center team assisted him with the Helping Hands application, a Fall River Electric program that provides energy assistance to those in need.
-We learned Josh’s children were eligible for Medicaid but weren’t yet enrolled, so we helped him begin the enrollment process and followed up to ensure the necessary paperwork was submitted.
-We also discovered that one of Josh’s children had never received their social security card as an infant, and we began the application process to receive a copy of this vital document.
While we couldn’t reverse the impact of COVID-19 on Josh’s family, we were able to ease his burden and connect him to multiple resources to help him during his income loss. We will continue to work with his family to ensure that their needs are met in the coming months.
**Name changed for privacy
Charles** found the CRCTV after being unemployed for several months. He came in feeling deflated and with head in hands said, “I’m just flat broke.” As Charles spoke about his past few months, it became clear that he was struggling with figuring out where to go next. Having held his previous job with the same company for 15 years, much of his identity was tied up in the work that he had done.
Together, we reviewed our online Teton Valley Job Inventory and found a couple of listings for which he was well-qualified. With application assistance and a bit of encouragement, Charles reached out to a potential employer and quickly landed a job! Meanwhile, the CRCTV assisted him with applying for Energy Assistance to alleviate a portion of his large, overdue electric bill, supplied him with food from our Food Rescue Program, and purchased him a tank of gas to get to his new job the next week.
We followed up with Charles a few weeks later and he told us, “You know, at 61 I wasn’t looking for a new direction, but this has turned out pretty good!” We feel fortunate to have helped Charles carve out a new path.
**Name changed for privacy
Stephanie** came to the CRCTV swimming in medical bills. She was 6 months into a very high-risk pregnancy, which demanded visits to multiple providers for her care. Without insurance, however, the care was coming at quite the cost. Although Stephanie’s spouse was making enough money to cover all of the family’s basic needs, the plethora of bills coming due were out of their budget, and she was no longer able to work.
Together, we reviewed the family’s income and determined how much they could realistically pay toward medical bills each month. Stephanie felt overwhelmed and intimidated by the negotiation process, so we were able to speak with the various medical providers and facilities on her behalf. We navigated the process of communicating with providers, setting up payment plans, and budgeting for new expenses during follow up visits. Additionally, the CRCTV was able to help her apply for a women’s health grant that covered most of her ultrasonography fees. Although still facing a tough life circumstance, this left Stephanie feeling much more settled than when she came for her first visit, a definite success in our eyes.
Although our work with clients often involves financial assistance, there are many situations (such as Stephanie’s story) that are navigated through connection and guidance alone. Much of our support for clients is derived from our ability to consider the individual’s circumstances, evaluate which resources might work best, and offer one-on-one case management services to help clients regain stability.
Even when working a risky job, most folks never expect to suffer from an on-the-job injury that renders them unable to work. But that’s exactly what happened to Raymond** when he fell off a ladder at his place of employment. Having sustained multiple severe injuries, he spent several days at the hospital, and then returned home, where he would need to remain for at least 3 months in order to heal.
Realizing that the family’s income had instantly been whittled down to almost nothing, Raymond’s wife reached out to the Community Resource Center for help. After numerous case management hours working with Wyoming Worker’s Comp, Raymond was approved for Temporary Total Disability, which would provide a portion of his previous income during his time out of work. However, by the time Worker’s Comp was approved, their rent was past due and increased expenses from traveling to medical appointments and therapy left them with little money on hand. The CRC was able to provide rental assistance through our Quality of Life Financial Assistance Program to cover a large portion of the family’s rent. Additionally, the CRC assisted with food and utilities to help them through the rough patch.
Several months have passed and Raymond is now doing well. He’s preparing to go back to work and feeling good about taking on a slightly different role while he fully regains his strength.
For most of us, it’s hard to imagine spending a harsh Teton Valley winter in nothing more than an old, dilapidated RV. But Randy* was facing that exact prospect, alongside his 8 year old son. Randy, a single father working two jobs, was asked to vacate his long term rental in July when his landlord decided to list the property for sale. Randy was caught off guard, and spent his minimal savings to fix up the RV enough to have a leak-proof living space for the remainder of summer. He came to the Community Resource Center of Teton Valley (CRCTV) after hearing that we maintain an inventory of local rental listings. Finding spaces to rent wasn’t hard, but Randy quickly realized that he wouldn’t be able to pay the mandatory first/last/deposit to secure a rental, an amount often totaling $3,000 or more.
After weeks of searching, calling, and applying, Randy finally found a small cabin, very suitable for he and his son. He had managed to save enough for the first and last month’s rent but came up short for the deposit. Through the CRCTV’s Quality of Life funding, we were able to assist him with money for a deposit, ensuring a solid roof over his head as winter swiftly approaches. When he came in the next week, his son smiled from ear to ear when asked how he liked his new home. “I really love it!” he exclaimed. That’s the kind of feedback that the CRCTV likes to hear!
*name changed for privacy
It had already been a hard year, having to uproot the family to move after an unexpected divorce, but Chelsea** had managed to stay afloat. She had full-time employment in Driggs and felt fortunate to have a short commute and healthy children. Then came another unexpected twist: one of her children became ill. Chelsea thought her short-term disability policy would get her through the pinch but it proved very challenging to get the needed time off approved. She quickly fell behind on her rent and bills.
When Chelsea came in to the CRCTV, she was riddled with shame and guilt, as this kind of situation was not where she envisioned finding herself. She was worried about losing her rental and having her electricity disconnected due to lack of payment. She had no idea what help existed, but hoped to find out when she reached out to the CRCTV.
We worked with Chelsea to fill out an application for energy assistance, and paid for part of the existing balance to ensure that her family would continue to have heat. Through our Quality of Life Program, we were able to pay for a large portion of the previous month’s rent to prevent eviction and a second displacement in under a year. Additionally, we encouraged her to take advantage of our Food Rescue Program to offset food costs, got the children signed up for Toys for Tots, and provided a needed legal referral. Chelsea’s situation is still challenging, but she reports that things are definitely looking up. She is back to work and things are slowly getting caught up and back to normal, an accomplishment we are proud to hear of.
Sometimes life feels like one big thunderstorm…..Take Ashley** for example, who came in feeling defeated and hopeless. Earlier this year, Ashley was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and had been undergoing treatments that necessitated her husband missing work to take her to Idaho Falls multiple times a week. Having to miss work made for far less income, and for the first time ever, Ashley and her husband found themselves struggling to pay their basic household bills.
Ashley reached out to The Community Resource Center, not knowing where else to turn. We were able to help Ashley apply to a special fund for women with cancer, which subsequently paid her electric and propane bills for the month. Additionally, the Community Resource Center was able to purchase insulin for Ashley, a medication that is crucial in managing her Type 1 diabetes. With this help, Ashley’s skies became a bit sunnier. She and her husband were able to regain hope and focus on beating her cancer!
Helping Others Help Themselves
At the Community Resource Center of Teton Valley, we see our role as helping others help themselves. We serve anyone in need in our Valley–all ages and situations. We are happy to work with each client’s individual circumstances, evaluating which resources might work best.