Homelessness can be debilitating. Escaping from it can take hard work and help from others.
Just ask Margie Habner.
Habner, her husband and their four children had been homeless for several years and recently were living in a RV in North Sacramento with “no electricity, no hot water, running on a generator 24/7 for the kids,” she said.
Habner’s husband and older son work full-time in construction, but the family was spending around $2,000 a month on fuel for their generator, she said. They had light and heat but couldn’t save enough money to move into an apartment or house.
When their trailer was noticed for violating vehicular code, Habner called 311 and asked for help. They referred her to the City’s Department of Community Response and Neighborhood Service Coordinator Nate Guerra.
“She didn’t really trust me at first, but I could tell she needed help,” Guerra said. “Thankfully, we had a room available for them in our motel voucher program.”
Within a few days, Guerra helped Habner and her family move into a motel on Stockton Boulevard.
“This was the best thing for my family,” Habner said. “The main thing is my kids are in public school, something they really needed, but being in that trailer, it wasn’t going to happen.”
The motel room provided stability, but it wasn’t supposed to be a permanent solution, and Habner’s story doesn’t end there. The help she is receiving includes case-management services through a third-party provider; Step Up On Second worked with Habner and her family while they were in the motel.
With a break from fuel costs, her husband’s and son’s incomes, and a support from Step Up On Second, the family had enough for first and last month’s rent and a security deposit.
Less than a month after leaving the trailer behind for the motel room, Habner and her family moved into a house in Oak Park.
“The pieces don’t always fall into place as quickly as they did for this family,” said Bridgette Dean, director of the City’s Department of Community Response. “In this case, we have a family that needed to make a change, and the motel room, the case management and the long-term housing all came together. They had the income, but they just needed a little help to improve their circumstances.”
The change has been dramatic, going from a trailer to a house in about four weeks, Habner said. She is still getting used to having more room, a bigger kitchen and other conveniences.
“The best thing is we get to sit around the kitchen table and have dinner together,” she said. “It’s been more than four years since we could do that. If it wasn’t for Nate and DCR, this would not have happened.”
CBS13 also recently covered Habner’s story. Click here to watch their report.