A Fresh Start — and a Hand Up


At her lowest, Toni was living in a tent with her beloved dog Ghost. She spent her days gathering aluminum cans to get enough money for a “tall boy” from the liquor store. This was the life that Toni led, when hope seemed far away.

One morning, as she watched the sun rise she had a moment of clarity. “If anyone is going to change my life, it has to be me.” Toni looked at Ghost and told him they were going to get a home. That day she decided to gather aluminum cans for a different purpose. She needed a roof to keep out the rain, walls to keep out the cold, and the stability and dignity that a real home provides.

She continued to gather cans, but instead of using the money for beer, she used half the money for food that she shared with Ghost and saved the other half for a place to live. She continued this for six months. Toni will be the first to tell you that saving the money was not the easy choice.

She had heard from Laundry of Love that there might be an opportunity for her at Interfaith to get into a rental. When Toni felt she saved enough money, she walked into Interfaith and met with Clint. Clint gave her a chance with a one-bedroom rental that had just come available.

Toni is so proud of her home and has come a long way with the adjustment to her new lifestyle. There have been some bumps along the way, but she has held down a job for nearly a year now.

Clint referred Toni to our Take Control financial coach, Lacy Stauffacher. With Lacy, Toni is working on changing old behaviors and becoming more empowered to handle her finances. When you aren’t used to having money, you don’t know how to handle it. With the help of donors like you, Interfaith has been able to not only give Toni a hand up in her time of need, but also to empower her address and modify the behaviors that held her back. One thing is certain — Toni is not through growing, and thanks to you, we will be here to coach her as she continues that work towards stability.

As for Ghost, he is still by Toni’s side and loves his new home — where they will celebrate this Christmas in warmth.

Your gift helps people like Toni get into affordable housing and receive financial coaching as they work to achieve stability.