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Meet our Community: Walter

This month we spoke with Walter (name changed for confidentiality purposes). Walter moved to Central Oregon last summer as part of a job transfer. Part of the perk of the transfer was that his employer offered him a rental with his contract. After moving, he regained custody of his children, which was a huge win.

Shortly after though, his company failed to maintain their end of the deal. They told him they were unable to continue to pay for his rental, and he was forced to leave and move into a shelter with his two children with only a few of their belongings.

After leaving the job and moving to the shelter, the family’s only income was his disability benefits. Walter’s son took a job at a local restaurant to help with finances, but even with two incomes they were unable to make enough to meet the requirements for rentals on the market. (It is standard across property management companies today to require 3-4x the rent in income for a household, and with 1 bedroom rentals close to $2000/month, that means a family needs to prove $6-8,000/mo in income. The working class in Central Oregon hardly stands a chance.)

Walter first heard about Thrive at the shelter, and when he realized they couldn’t figure out housing on their own, he reached out to Thrive immediately. The family met with Leah almost once a week, when she assisted him in applying for housing waitlists, as well as assisted with car repairs and registration.

Just recently, Walter and his family moved into an affordable housing complex and he is so happy that they can finally have stable housing again. Leah was a strong support system for Walter throughout his journey. He is extremely grateful to Leah and Thrive for finally bringing him hope and allowing him space to heal from trauma and shock. He was able to start networking again and is hopeful that he will have more sustainable income coming in soon.

Walter’s advice for others in a similar situation is to reach out to Thrive and work with them as soon as you can. “Don’t give up and reach out for help when you need it. Take the help from people who are willing to give it to you because accessing resources can be a lot of work and it is the job of the advocates at Thrive to help people access them so take advantage of it. It is important to take action and not just feel sorry for yourself.”

Some final thoughts Walter would like to share with the community is that he hopes that everyone can be as lucky as he was working with Thrive. He said it makes a huge difference when a stranger cares about you and your family and he will forever be grateful to Leah.

Thank you Walter for sharing your story!

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