January 2017 Client Story

In January 2017, START was grateful to have received a donation as a proud partner through United Way of Dane County in order to provide families with children support during the winter months for basic needs items. START was able to assist and support 7 Stoughton based families with essential items needed to benefit these families with children. START connected with these families through referrals from the Stoughton Area School District Social Worker along with assisting current START case managed clients. START was able to provide 18 different children with new items including: clothes (pajamas, shirts, pants, underwear, socks, winter jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, shoes, slippers, winter boots) a baby crib, pillows, blankets, household items, personal essential items, groceries, cleaning supplies, school supplies, a baby crib, diapers and wipes. All of the families, including the children met with the START Program Director in person and were able to be present when purchasing the items in the store while the children were also able to try on the clothing and be present when purchasing these items to ensure that they fit. The children ranged from infants to senior high school aged students. All of the families shared their feelings of appreciation and gratitude to the START Program Director for the donations that were provided to them. START was able to deliver follow up to United Way explaining how the use of the funds had been dispersed throughout our community. While staying in connection with the families, START was able to create a relationship with several new clients/households on a case management basis.

 

December Client Story

START funds helped a single mother of four maintain housing stability during the cold winter months in Stoughton Wisconsin. This single mother relies solely on social security disability benefits in order to pay the costs of her monthly bills and provide for her and her family. She has 3 school aged children while also caring for an adult child who recently graduated high school. Two of her children are in grade school while the other is in high school and has hopes to graduate within the next couple of years. The mother had been working with the START Program Director on a case management basis for several months and it was brought to the Program Director’s attention that 2 of the children had been sleeping on the floor without a bed or something suitable to sleep on in order to get a good night’s rest. They had been piling up blankets, pillows and clothing in order to make the nights rest tolerable. START was able to apply for a grant and be approved in order to secure 2 brand new twin size beds including mattresses, box springs and frames from Slumberland Furniture for this family. START was able to physically transport and deliver the beds to the family while also being able to help set them up. The mother’s youngest 9 year old daughter and 11 year old son exclaimed their appreciation and gratitude through numerous hugs and statements of thankfulness while assisting the Program Director in setting them up in their rooms. This family has gained a sense of relief and comfort during the holiday season while also being able to sleep in their very own beds. While being able to rest more comfortably at night the children have all stated that they have more energy while attending and participating in classroom activities at school. 

November Client Story

In November 2016 START advocated on behalf of a single parent working female who was at risk of losing her housing. She had worked hard over the past 5 years to create a positive rental history and has never missed a rent payment. After receiving an eviction notice for a past due balance this single mother reached out to START for help regarding an inaccurate balance owed. She had sent payment to her landlord which was never recorded on her balance statement and she now had a court date schedule within just a few days after reaching out to START. She had been in contact with her landlord regarding the inaccurate balance owed but was not making much progress as she did not have proof of the payment being sent. After meeting with START we connected her with a Housing Caseworker regarding her legal rights in order to prevent the family from becoming homeless. START and the Housing Caseworker advocated for this woman with her landlord at her eviction court hearing in Madison. START was also able to help this single working mother with a portion of the rent amount owed in order to prevent the eviction from furthering. After meeting with START, the landlord accepted partial payment for the total amount owed and agreed to a legal payment arrangement that she will be able to comply with as she works full time and has volunteered to work extra shifts in order to accommodate for this discrepancy. She has already been saving rent owed for the month of December and will no longer have to worry about the risk of becoming homeless during the cold winter months. She stated that she was extremely grateful to have had the support of the START Program Director during this very critical time in her life, as she was unsure how to manage the situation legally without an advocate. She stated she plans to keep record of all payments going forward as she does not want to experience the risk of losing her home again. START was also able to help this single mother connect with Christmas gift programs in order to ensure that her children receive presents for the holiday. With the help of START, she and her family will now get to spend the holidays in their own apartment while having the security of knowing they are not at risk of becoming homeless. 

October Client Story

START assisted a single mother of 2 who was working hard to gain her independence back after surviving through a time of intense difficulty in which she and her children became homeless. She had been working with START on a case management basis for the past 2 years and reached out to the Program Director for support.  While experiencing homelessness and temporarily staying with family she had successfully secured stable employment through her previous employer and had been accepted for an apartment. START advocated for this family to be approved for the apartment while staying in close connection with her landlord. START was also able to secure a payment arrangement with the local utility company and landlord in order for the family to be able to move in as quickly as possible. While in transition she had lost her vehicle and had no way to get to and from work which was critical in her plan of moving back into an apartment and no longer doubling up with family. She had been saving as much money as she could for a vehicle and first month’s rent/security deposit. After connecting her to Folks Wagons Inc. she was able to receive a reliable vehicle at a reasonable price which she could afford. Folks Wagons Inc. educated this young woman on the importance of maintenance that the vehicle will require while also being a resource for minor repairs and oil changes at no cost to her. In conjunction with Folks Wagons and START she was able to receive financial assistance for the vehicle registration, plates and the first month’s car insurance premium. START also provided her with transportation to the Department of Motor Vehicles while advocating for her through the registration process. While experiencing homelessness and leaving behind all of her belongings she was lost as to where to turn for help in receiving furniture for her home. START helped this woman with physically moving into her new apartment while also providing donated pieces of furniture, dishware, and household items.

START also secured a furniture voucher through St. Vincent De Paul while helping her by transporting and moving the items into her home. After meeting with the family multiple times each week it was brought to the Program Directors attention that her 2 young children had been sleeping on the floor and on couches while they no longer had beds or something suitable to sleep on. START was able to apply for a grant and be approved in order to secure 2 brand new twin size beds including mattresses, box springs and frames from Slumberland Furniture for this family. After successfully being able to get to and from work with the mother’s new vehicle the family is now feeling more safe and secure in their apartment while also being able to get a good night’s rest. The woman’s oldest son proclaimed his appreciation through numerous hugs and statements of gratitude. He stated that he did not know the last time that he had his own bed and was able to sleep in his own room. Through multiple venues of donations, compassion, and hard work START was able to help this family gain stability, safety, security, and a feeling of self-sufficiency. 

 

September Client Story

During the month of September 2016 START was able to provide assistance to a family of four who have resided in the Stoughton Area School District for over 20 years. The two parent household relies on the family’s income as a whole in order to pay their monthly expenses. While they both work full time they have two young grade school aged children that have attended schools throughout the Stoughton School District for their entire lives. The family recently encountered two unexpected deaths within the same week to very close family members. These deaths caused unexpected funeral costs and family support costs which caused a great deal of financial strain for the family. They struggled with how they were going to contribute towards all of their monthly bills without becoming evicted from the home so they reached out to START for support. START has worked with this family over the past two years and has been a resource for the family during times of need. Through SIEMER funds donated to START the family was able to receive case management related to budgeting, money management and help with their finances. START was also able to provide this family with direct financial assistance towards an amount owed for rent. They were able to become current with the past due amount owed in order to prevent an eviction and they have both continued to work full time in order to stay current with their monthly bills. The children of the household did not have to relocate to a different school district and have not had their education disrupted related to an unplanned move. The family is connected with their children’s school teachers and social workers in order to receive as much support as possible for their children.

August Client Story

During the month of August 2016 START was able to provide assistance to a single adult female who was struggling to pay her bills after unexpectedly losing her father to a terminal illness. Over the past few months this young woman tried her best to accumulate as many work hours as possible in order to pay her monthly bills and provide support to her family. She had recently received news that her father was dying and only had weeks left to live. She had connected with START in the past related to receiving help creating a resume and securing employment. After working with START on a case management basis she had reached her goal and secured two local part time jobs which were sufficient enough to cover her monthly bills. After receiving news of her father’s illness, she worked hard to secure as many hours at work as possible to ensure that she would have enough funds to cover her rent, utilities and car payment as she was planning to visit her father at the end of the month. Without the ability to accumulate extra hours at work and save funds to visit her father, he passed away within only a few short weeks. She was now in need of assistance, as she had unexpected travel expenses which accrued in order for her to attend the funeral.  After paying her rent and utilities, she was unsure as to where she could receive help with her unpaid car payment, so she reached out to START. The Stoughton Area Resource Team was able to provide her with assistance related to her unpaid car payment along with being a listening ear while she grieved the loss of her father. After meeting with START she stated that she was grateful to have been given the opportunity to not worry about the risk of having her vehicle impounded during this very difficult time in her life and was appreciative to have someone she could talk to. Since her father’s death, she has continued to work extra hours in hopes to begin saving money each month in order to visit her mother and siblings out of state for additional support. 

July Client Story

During the month of July 2016, START was able to provide support and assistance to a local single mother who was unable to pay her monthly utility bill. She was concerned that her utilities were going to become disconnected due to a past due balance which she was unable to afford due to a loss of household income. During the month of June 2016, this single mother was unexpectedly hospitalized for two weeks after having an emergency surgery. After weeks of feeling ill she was diagnosed with a tumor located on her spine which was affecting her ability to function normally. While in recovery from surgery, her monthly household bills began to accumulate. With the help from her savings, family and friends she was able to afford the costs of rent and other bills but she was having a difficult time coming up with the amount needed for her utility disconnection notice. START worked with this young woman on a payment plan in order to make a contribution towards her total amount owed while also providing her direct financial assistance towards this bill. She was able to avoid becoming disconnected from her utilities and was able to recover from her surgery without the burden of an unpaid utility bill. 

June Client Story

During the month of June 2016 START connected with a single mother of three who has resided in Stoughton for 1 year. As she and her family are considerably new to the community she was unfamiliar with several resources available to her and her family. After receiving rental assistance towards a past due balance from St. Vincent De Paul/St. Anne’s she was referred to START for utility assistance and additional funds needed towards her rent. START was able to provide case management services along with rental assistance with the use of SIEMER funds in order to help stabilize this family. START was also able to connect her with a Joining Forces for Families (JFF) case worker to receive dual case management and rental assistance through a Salvation Army Voucher. Through collaboration with several different organizations in Stoughton, this single mother was able to have the total amount owed towards rent paid in full. START also provided her with contact information for 2 food pantries which are available in town along with contact information for the Personal Essentials Pantry (PEP) which she was also unfamiliar with. After receiving these referrals and assistance, she is now connected to many different resources which she can connect with in the future should she feel necessary. START and JFF continue to work with this woman on a case management basis. 

April Client Story

In April, START provided assistance to a single father who recently became the sole caretaker and provider for his 3 children.  He was new to the Stoughton community and moved here within the past few months to care for his children while the mother of the household was undergoing intensive residential drug and alcohol treatment in Madison. The 3 young children have lived with their mother here in Stoughton while their father worked full time in Madison in a position that he secured and maintained for 10+ years. The mother of the family had been struggling with severe drug and alcohol addiction while she was also was facing criminal charges which caused the family structure to become unstable. After receiving these legal charges the mother of the household decided to participate in an intensive residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program located in Madison in order to better her health so that she could provide a healthy lifestyle for herself and her children. The father of the household decided to move back to Stoughton in order to care for the children while the mother was working towards her goals. He had to leave his place of employment and began to look for work here in Stoughton. Transportation was a huge barrier for this single father as he needed to attend and participate in case management meetings with his W2 worker during his work search. START connected him with the Affordable Transportation Program offered through Stoughton United Ministries and secured a way for him to get to and from his case management meetings in Madison. START was also able to help him pay off past due rent which the mother had failed to pay, in order to prevent the family from losing their housing. As of May, this single father was proud to share that he had secured employment here in town and was in the process of registering for classes to obtain his GED. He has connected with the Joining Forces for Families worker and has been receiving case management services from both START and JFF in order to help him reach his short and long term goals. He shared that after he completes his GED, he hopes to be able to attend community college in order to gain a degree or certification in a skill of his interest in hopes to gain more stable and reliable employment. He continues to meet with the START Program Director while working towards these goals.

May Client Story

During the month of May 2016 START was proud to have been informed by a long term client that she had accomplished one of her long term goals. For several months START has been meeting with a young disabled woman who has been struggling to find work after being let go from a local fast food restaurant due to her medical issues. She had worked hard with START to create an updated resume while she applied for work in the area of her interest. START was able to help her pay for an education/assistant teaching certification application fee which will help her in this work search. She secured part time employment through a school district and was also able to secure part time employment at a local business. During this transition with her employment START was also able to help her financially through rental assistance. START was able to provide transportation for this young woman to one of her new found jobs, as that was often a barrier for her. START also provided a professional reference for this young woman which helped her to secure one of her part time jobs. START also advocated on her behalf to her previous employer who was withholding her last paycheck. She has now been working an average of 30-40 hours per week, received her last paycheck from her previous employer and will be able to contribute towards all of her rental costs going forward without experiencing a disruptive move from her home.  

March Client Story

In March, START was able to provide a family of 4 with assistance towards a past due medical bill. The mother of the household is currently in remission after fighting through breast cancer. After her diagnosis she was informed that she must receive several different types of treatments to help her overcome her illness. She was overwhelmed with unexpected medical bills that continued to pile up month after month. She applied for and received help from the Community Care Grant offered through the hospital that she received her treatment from. The Community Care Grant did not cover the entire amount of past due debt owed for the care that she received. After meeting with START she discussed her inability to pay the rest of her monthly bills on her own, with her significant others newly found income and she stated that they would be 2 weeks behind if they paid the medical bill due to his transition in employment. START completed an extensive and thorough budget with her to determine the need and benefit of financial help from START. It was determined that with the help of START she would be able to have this large medical bill paid in full while the remaining money that her husband receives would go towards rent, utilities and other basic needs for the month. She stated that after receiving help from START towards her medical bill she now feels less stressed and can relax a little more during her recovery. 

 

January Client Story

In January, START provided services to a single adult female who works part time and relies on her minimum wage job in order to pay her monthly bills. She has had severe medical issues which have caused her to miss several days of work which affected the amount of pay she received on her paychecks for the month. The lack of hours worked caused her to be unable to pay a portion of her rent for the month and she was concerned that she may become evicted from her apartment. In collaboration with START and JFF the young woman was transported to and from her doctor’s appointments and was able to receive rental assistance in order to prevent the eviction. She has begun working her regular amount of hours again and has picked up a second job in order to maintain her monthly bills going forward. She works closely with both JFF and START on an intensive case management basis and is scheduled to have her taxes done next month through the help of START connecting her with free tax services provided in Stoughton which will also help her to stay current with her monthly bills.  

February Client Story

In February, START provided intensive case management to a young single woman who resides in Stoughton and has severe medical, physical, developmental and emotional disabilities which affect her ability to work full time and perform several other independent responsibilities. She is actively applying and interviewing for new employment as she is facing many medical issues which have affected her attendance and ability to perform certain job duties which are required through her current place of employment at a fast food restaurant. She prides herself on being able to pay all of her monthly bills on time and in full but has been struggling to stay current due to unexpected health conditions, which she is currently being treated for by her physician. She began to fall behind on rent and was also concerned as to how she was going to pay her cell phone bill because she had been unable to work her regular set amount of hours. She has received a child care certification and has been applying for work in this field, as she enjoys working with children and is now able to perform physical duties at work again. START was able to provide her with transportation and assistance in purchasing clothing at St. Vincent De Paul Society through a clothing voucher for her upcoming interviews, along with transporting and assisting her with receiving personal essentials from the PEP pantry here in town. START was also able to transport and aid her in scheduling and filing her 2015 tax return through the free VITA tax service offered in Stoughton. START was able to support this young woman by being present during her tax filing to ensure that all of the documents and forms needed were completed accurately, as she has a difficult time managing and understanding important legal documents due to her developmental disabilities. Along with helping alleviate the stress and burden of becoming past due on rent START was also able to help contribute to her monthly rental costs to ensure she did not become past due. START also guaranteed that potential employers would be able to contact her via phone call by helping her to pay her monthly cell phone bill.  She continues to work with START and JFF on an intensive case management basis and is looking forward to securing new employment in the field of her interest while also being able to remain current with her monthly bills as she is now able to work again.

 

December Client Story

December Client Story

START funds provided assistance and intensive case management to a recently single mother of 2, with a newborn child. This young woman had been working with START on a case management basis for several months and had established a list of short and long term attainable goals which she had been working hard to achieve. During the month of November 2015, she was proud to share that she had accomplished one of the largest goals on her list which was securing full time employment with better pay, benefits and hours. After several months of filling out numerous job applications and having face to face interviews with many different employers, she was full of pride to be offered a positon which she worked hard to obtain.