Answering the Call: A Family's Struggle with Long-Term Housing
Change Maker Sponsor - United Way of Greater Toledo

Answering the Call: A Family's Struggle with Long-Term Housing

United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa County.

This post is brought to you by the generous support of Morgan Stanley, a wealth management and investment banking advisory firm. As a global leader in capital-raising services, Morgan Stanley works to positively impact local communities through philanthropy. 


Even before Brianne* picked up the phone she knew what the call was about.

It was her landlord, reminding her, again, of the past-due rent. He was a fair guy, who let her late payments slide by here and there. But this time, rent was about two months late and she knew an eviction notice would soon follow.

There was no money for rent. Four kids and one trip to the emergency room, due to her daughter’s broken arm after an accident on the school playground, had left her savings completely depleted.

There was barely money for food, let alone rent and utilities. She felt like she just couldn’t win.

Brianne’s entire life had been filled with economic uncertainty. As had the lives of her grandparents, parents, and now, her own children too. It was a vicious cycle she just couldn’t seem to escape. This thought haunted her as she heard her landlord announce the day had come—“pay-up or move out.”

She hung up and sat still, not knowing what her next steps should be. But, she was determined to not be out on the streets with her kids. Racking her brain for solutions, she remembered a friend telling her about an emergency housing assistance program run by The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army Northwest Ohio, Salvation Army, United Way, Housing, Helping FamiliesShe had nowhere else to turn, so she gathered up her children and took the long bus trip downtown to see if there was some way--any way--The Salvation Army could help.

While her kids played in the waiting room, Brianne sat across from the kind face of The Salvation Army representative. Desperate, tired, and low on patience, she didn’t even know how to start the conversation when the woman simply asked, “How can we help?”

How can you help? That was such like a loaded question... I have nowhere to live. I can’t afford food -- especially healthy food -- for my kids. I can’t keep a job, because I don’t have a car. These thoughts and more raced through her mind, yet from her mouth simply came: “I just want my kids to have a good life.”

Ten simple, but very emotional words, that would change the trajectory of Brianne’s day.

The kind representative asked more questions, and slowly, but surely, those thoughts in her mind came spilling out. And miraculously, Brianne found herself and her four children being placed in emergency housing with two-weeks of assistance. The Salvation Army also helped to connect Brianne with several community resources, such as employment opportunities and some long-term housing options.


The phone rang and for once Brianne didn’t flinch. For once she wasn’t thinking about who might be calling her, asking for payment on some bill. It used to feel natural to pick up her family’s belongings and move to the next residence every other month. Now, she looked forward to being surrounded by the same four walls.

For the first time in a long time, thanks in part to emergency support from The Salvation Army, Brianne was holding employment, providing for her children and living in one place. She was determined to give her kids the good life they deserved.


CHANGE MAKER ACTION: Because of your support, United Way of Greater Toledo and our strong corporate partners, like Morgan Stanley, are able to invest in Salvation Army programming, which assists families in becoming financially stable and finding permanent housing. By donating below, you can help continue, and support, these important community programs.

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*This blog post is fictional but based on a real success story submitted by the The Salvation Army Northwest Ohio Area Services, on behalf of their United Way funded program, “Comprehensive Emergency Assistance”. All identities of submitted success stories are anonymous for privacy and story details have been added in order to provide a better understanding of the individual’s personal successes and struggles.

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