Home for the Holidays: Kelly’s Story

Help bring families like Kelly’s home for the holidays this year.

When Kelly first found Step Up, he had one goal: to make sure that his granddaughter, Johannah, could fall asleep in a real bed as she eagerly awaited the arrival of the holidays. For more than a year, he, his wife, his son, and his granddaughter had experienced homelessness. Johannah was only three years old and it was one of the most difficult times of their lives.

“Being homeless is so hard when you have a family. I just wanted to keep them safe, but I felt trapped at every turn,” said Kelly.

In 2021, U.S. Air Force Veteran Kelly was hit with two major financial hardships at once. First, he lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic. He had worked for years as a carpenter, but when lumber prices sky-rocketed, his company was forced to close its doors. Soon after, Kelly was hit with another devastating blow. He was given a no-fault eviction notice, despite never missing a rent payment. Without a job, he struggled to find another affordable place to live. Despite years of working and saving, his safety net crumbled. When they left the only home Johannah had ever known, they had no place to go but a nearby run-down motel.

In the months that followed, Kelly’s family shared a single room with two double-beds – jumping from motel to motel as he watched his credit card debt balloon. Eventually, his cards maxxed out, and the family of four was forced to squeeze into their two-door car. For more days than Kelly cares to remember, he and his wife would sleep in the front seats of their car while Johannah and her dad curled up in the backseat. Each morning they would wake, hoping to find the help they needed.

“I’m so grateful we found Step Up when we did,” said Kelly. “We moved into our new home right before the holidays. To be gathered in a real home — our own apartment, finally safe — was the greatest gift we’ve ever received.”

More families like Kelly’s are waiting for a safe and stable home. 

Living without a safe home can have devastating and traumatic effects on individuals, families, children, veterans, and communities. Across the country, thousands of people will face this holiday season lacking what many cherish most this time of year — a home. Your gift today will help provide the housing and supportive services that will build hope, transform lives, and bring more people home this holiday season.

Get involved and make a difference at: www.stepup.org/homefortheholidays.

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