Monday , 21 May 2018

Putting a Face on Crisis

“Why didn’t they just plan better?”

Fair question.

Why didn’t those in need put something away for a rainy day or an unexpected crisis? Why don’t they just get a job, or a second job? They shouldn’t have to ask for help.

Maybe, but consider Nancy*.  She and her family were doing “the right thing” – her husband had continuous employment and she was in the midst of improving her employability by working on her certification as a phlebotomist, which can take from 2 to six months. They had a circle of family, friends, co-workers; they were involved in the neighborhood, the community, their church.

They were living a normal life.

Then her husband unexpectedly died. He was the sole provider because she was in school. Just prior to his death he was on workman’s compensation due to an on-the-job injury. Nancy informed the company of his death, and requested access to his life insurance. But, he apparently had a conversation with a supervisor stating that the severity of his injuries could keep him from returning to work.  So, the company denied he was an active employee and was not, therefore, covered by insurance.

Nancy was now both alone and without finances, and at risk for homelessness. Community Lifeline Center was able to assist with her rent, water, and electric payments. Her church family graciously donated money to partially cover funeral costs, with the remainder coming from a loan from her Aunt. With this little bit of breathing room her plan is to repay all once her certification is complete. She is most optimistic about her future.

And then there is Stacey*.

Being a newlywed is supposed to be a happy time, but for Stacey, bliss will have to wait.  A 27 year old veteran, she came to Community Lifeline Center seeking assistance with her electric bill. Although newlyweds, she has combined her family with her new husband’s resulting in a modern day Brady brunch of 5 children. Stacey can only work part-time as she was injured during her last deployment. The family relies on her husband as sole provider. Unfortunately, one month after they were married, her husband unexpectedly lost his job.

5 children, utilities, and rent to pay all became overwhelming.

Working with her Case Manager at Community Lifeline Center, she was able to sign up her husband for the 4 week long job seekers class. She received assistance with her electric bill and received assistance with new shoes for herself, her husband and all 5 of her children. She left Community Lifeline Center stating she would do whatever is necessary to help her family, grateful for the assistance.

Yes, maybe Nancy and her husband should have had a separate life insurance policy outside of his work to provide in the case of his death; perhaps she should have gotten her certification earlier rather than now.  Maybe she should have postponed certification after he went on workmen’s comp. Maybe Stacey should have postponed her wedding until after the economy improved, or not married at all given she is an injured veteran.

Why didn’t Nancy plan better in the event of her husband’s death; or Stacey have a plan in place in case her husband lost his job?

The truth is few of us have a perfect plan. And, most of us get lucky, so what could happen doesn’t. And, that’s why Community Lifeline Center is there:  to absorb some of the blow when the unexpected crisis collides with the imperfect plan. Just enough help to get those in need back on their feet: a little stronger, a lot wiser.

*Names are fictitious

Community Lifeline Center exists because a community stands tallest when it kneels to offer a helping hand.

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