Michelle was a stay-at-home mom until she decided to open a consignment shop so she could save enough money to leave her increasingly abusive marriage. She saved money for three years and planned how she would leave her husband. Unfortunately, without any warning, Michelle’s husband turned her, their seven children, and the family dog out of their home one night. Not only did he turn them out, but he had depleted her savings account.

Michelle and her children, ages 2-13, were left with 33 cents and spent the first few nights in her shop, motels, and with friends. Once she found Family Promise of Brevard her priority was to find new housing.

“We knew income from her business would ultimately support her family,” explains Eddie White of FPOB. “She was a perfect candidate for our Hand Up program”

White is the navigator of the Hand Up program which is a housing assistance program made possible by FPOB’s partnership with HUMI (Help Us Move In), a nonprofit that helps families facing housing crises. As navigator White helped Michelle find housing and receive HUMI move-in funding.

Within days the family and their beloved dog were in their new home, a pet-friendly rental home in a safe neighborhood. Michelle’s life went from being upended to subsequently righted so quickly it still amazes her.

“Most support services require so much before they’ll meet you – advance appointments, time-consuming paperwork. In an emergency, you don’t have the luxury of time,” Michelle says. “All of a sudden I had nothing, but Family Promise helped me right away.”

Since first opening her consignment store, Michelle has had compassion for struggling families, offering goods from the shop to those who need help most.

“I was always the one giving help. It was really humbling to see people coming together to help us when we needed it,” she says.

A partnership with HUMI is just one of the national initiatives Family Promise has launched with leading nonprofits dedicated to helping families confronting housing crises. As one of the Affiliates piloting the program, FPOB was able to give Michelle the “hand up” she needed to regain her independence.

“Family Promise gave us so much,” says Michelle, who has already referred others to FPOB. “They really are like a family.”