My friend went Home-less & what we’re doing about it.

Via on Aug 2, 2014

Ashleigh Hitchcock Bike Stylish © Tanya Dueri Photography

A friend of mine, and her family of three children, recently went home-less in Boulder, Colorado. Here’s what you did about it.

Our community didn’t rally around her.

After all, she’s always cheerful, and modest, and other than asking on Facebook if folks knew of affordable three or four bedrooms from time to time, she didn’t social media her status. 

And yet, that first night—when she and her three children found themselves in various friends’ homes, and their dog in a friend’s backyard, and Ashleigh herself in the back of a bus—I went to bed in my king size bed as per usual. I’ve worked to earn what I have, and no one’s given me anything—except, of course, that that’s not true at all.

I’m reminded of Elizabeth Warren’s impassioned speech about the power of the commonwealth to help entrepreneurs achieve their American dream. I’ve been given safe streets and a decent education. I was given a caring mom, and a bicycle, and though I grew up poor, I had access to decent food most of the time thanks to food stamps and my mom working four jobs.

After a day, I felt heartbroken, and put a call out to the elephant readership community. And you all responded. I offered to donate $1,000 to Ashleigh and her family to help pay some rent if you all matched that total. I did so in a newsletter two weeks ago. Almost immediately, donations came in. From 10 different countries. From folks rich and poor. To date, we’ve sent in not just $1,000 to match my $1,000, but you all sent in $5,500 dollars for a total of $6,500. 

That’s worth repeating, with a thank you: To date, we’ve sent in not just $1,000 to match my $1,000, but you all sent in $5,500 dollars for a total of $6,500. 

And yet Ashleigh is still homeless. Because she’s “Section 8″, low income, Boulder property management companies won’t rent to her (specifically, Fowler Property Management, who did so in writing). I’m ashamed not of my town—our taxes help pay Section 8—but of our property managers.

More good news: elephant has offered Ashleigh a full-time job. And yet with three children, even paying $30,000 a year over the next year, she’ll be well below the poverty line here (measured by cost of living). With her children in local schools their whole life, she doesn’t want to uproot them and move away. So she continues to live in the bus.

Here’s the only photo of the four of them all together from the last three weeks:

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So let’s do a little more, if you’re so inspired. If we can get enough, she can prepay for a full year of rent, which should get her out of section 8 and into a home.

> You can send a check made out to Ashleigh Hitchcock (add a heart to the envelope!) at 838 University Ave, Boulder CO 80302.

> Or you can go to paypal.com and just click “send” at the top, then “Friends of Family.” Enter samara@elephantjournal.com (our accountant) and choose your amount.

Please do so now if you’re wanting to give—there’s no present like the present moment. I would suggest $25, or $108, or some large amount if you’re moved to do so. Then, on our facebook page, facebook.com/elephantjournal, in exactly one week, it’s rather urgent, we’ll share a photo of our community’s gift to her.

She is always broke, works five odd jobs (no kidding), raises three children wonderfully well (cooking, cleaning, helping get them around town). Our gift won’t stop hardworking families from struggling financially, but it will mean the world to this one.

“Generosity is the virtue which produces peace.” ~ Buddhist saying

Update: We’ve raised around $6,500, including elephant’s gift, thus far. 

I just learned the meaning of Home-less.

“Homelessness is something we confront—or ignore—every day. But when it strikes close to home, we feel the fragility of this society.” 

A dear friend of mine, always cheerful, always genuine, always generous,
has rented a beautiful home for herself and her three children for many years. She had a good deal on the rent because the landlord loved her. But, the landlord finally decided to sell the home, this year—he’s getting elderly and needed to tie up loose ends for the sake of his family

And so my friend, Ashleigh, began hunting for apartments or new homes. Because the City of Boulder, where we live, pays most of her rent for her, as a low-income single mom, she’s limited in what she can pay and most property managers—callous as many are—won’t accept applications from low-income renters even when their rent is guaranteed by the City.

Two days ago, Ashleigh became homeless. Her dog is staying in the backyard of a friend’s house. Two of her children are staying with extended family (in different homes), and one of them is staying with a friend. Ashleigh is staying in the back of a bus.

It’s heartbreaking. I’ve tried to help for weeks and months in finding a new home, and have failed.

This month, Ashleigh happened to be one of our “most popular and quality authors on elephant.” So she would win $100 bucks or so from elephant—but I’ll raise that to $1,000 as a matching donation.

So, let’s do something as a community. Elephant will pay her $1,000 if you, our readers, match it. [We're already at $300 after only a few hours of this post going live].

> You can send a check made out to Ashleigh Hitchcock (add a heart to the envelope!) at 838 University Ave, Boulder CO 80302.

> Or you can go to paypal.com and just click “send” at the top, then “Friends of Family.” Enter samara@elephantjournal.com (our accountant) and choose your amount.

Please do so now if you’re wanting to give—there’s no present like the present moment. I would suggest $25, or $108, or some large amount if you’re moved to do so. Then, on our facebook page, facebook.com/elephantjournal, in exactly one week, it’s rather urgent, we’ll share a photo of our community’s gift to her.

She is always broke, works five odd jobs (no kidding), raises three children wonderfully well (cooking, cleaning, helping get them around town). Our gift won’t stop hardworking families from struggling financially, but it will mean the world to this one.

“Generosity is the virtue which produces peace.” ~ Buddhist saying

Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis

**

Check out Ashleigh’s awesome recipes and other (super popular) blogs! 

 

 

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16 Responses to “My friend went Home-less & what we’re doing about it.”

  1. emilyjrooney says:

    Wow, great initiative Elephant Journal!!!
    Ashleigh may be interested in the self care manifesto for the Suddenly Homeless on my site at http://suddenlyhomeless.com/2014/07/self-care-for
    'Suddenly Homeless: The Journey Home Project' was inspired by my personal experience of loss after bushfires destroying 500 homes where I grew up in Australia.
    Please let her know she is now in good company, amongst a unique community of Suddenly Homeless Survivors! We know that our true home is never lost xo Emily | http://www.suddenlyhomeless.com

  2. Dave Davis says:

    I think you guys need to post this one to your Facebook page. :) Will be giving to her this week. :)

    • elephantjournal says:

      So sweet of you, Dave! We've shared it but it hasn't got much traction on our main page. We'll try again. ~ Waylon

  3. Brenna Fischer Brenna says:

    Done. I don't know Ashleigh personally but just interacting with her over FB and working with her through elephant journal over the last few months has brought new meaning and motivation to my writing. I can tell from her posts that she writes from the heart, she is an amazing mother and is pretty handy around the house :) Happy house hunting Ashleigh. The perfect place is out there I know it!!

  4. Stuart says:

    Saw it on Facebook. Donated. Best wishes to her, her family and dog, from the UK.

  5. Ashleigh Hitchcock Ashleigh says:

    Thanks Emily. The suddenly homeless manifest is awesome. I'm going to photocopy it and read it often. You should blog it up on elephant journal. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/08/write-for-

  6. nunh says:

    I have been virtually homeless when a best friend and his family took me in – I owe them my life. Today, I start to pass it on. I wish her luck and sending some greenbacks via paypal now (sent)!

  7. tammystone4444 says:

    done. i wish ashleigh and her kids all the very best, and a huge thanks for her heart-writing! tammy

  8. gdr23 says:

    Please be sure to update on how things are going for Ashley and her family!

  9. Sher says:

    I would donate if I could…..but I've been homeless for months….and haven't been able to work for a year due to a chronic illness. I've a applied for disability but that takes at least 6 months and 2+ years if I get initially turned down and have to appeal…so I am looking at a long run of homelessness.

    • Linda Lewis Linda V. Lewis says:

      Homelessness is really groundlessness. There should be emergency services + shelters in every city. The causes are unemployment, mental health or medical issues, substance abuse, but the most prominent is simply the lack of affordable housing. Municipal governments, particularly in wealthy towns like Boulder really, really need to address this affordable housing issue! Bravo for Waylon for stepping up for a good friend + for everyone doing what they can to help those who really need help. Do you live in Boulder, Sher?

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