Friday, December 20, 2013

Housing Is the Best Gift of All

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

People get into the spirit of giving this time of year, and I love to see it. For my charitable foundation Housing Help, it has been a special blessing.

Recently, a local philanthropist & consultant contacted me and asked if I wanted to discuss my foundation and take advantage of his experience. I was thrilled! All of my previous efforts to network with local groups had been meet with silence. And, other than calling St. Vincent de Paul, I had no idea how to find and screen families in need.

My new mentor put me in touch with Shelter Care, and few days later, Housing Help assisted a single father of two school-age kids, living in Springfield, who needed help with December rent so he wouldn’t lose his new apartment. It was a great feeling to finally accomplish what I’d set out to do years ago when I visualized this foundation.

I posted online about it, and several friends, both online and local, made contributions to the foundation. Thank you! I matched those donations, and we were able to help a second household. Two Eugene single mothers, with a combined three children, had received an eviction notice from their landlord—for no cause. They'd scraped together what they could but had still come up short of the $1300+ needed for first month’s rent plus a security deposit on a new place—which they felt lucky to find and quality for.

Housing Help provided the other half of the move-in costs, and the two families—which had nowhere to go—will have a new home, rather than live in their cars.

This is such a critical service!

I thank everyone who’s donated to this foundation, and I hope you’ll make it a habit. My original goal was to help one family a month. But I want to do more. So I’m aiming for two a month all next year. The list of families in this situation is endless, and not just in Lane County. Millions of people are one paycheck or one unexpected expense away from homelessness.

To motivate others to get involved, I’m offering an incentive: Anyone who donates $5 a month all next year, for a total of $60, will get a free book from me with every new release next year. And I plan to publish four! Two are already written and scheduled.

Find out more about the foundation at its website, where you can also donate through PayPay (or credit card). A mailing address is listed as well. Or contact me with any questions.

Thank you! And Happy Holidays! We’ll see you January 6 after the break.

4 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful cause, LJ - how do you have time to do all this? I hope you have a fabulous holiday!

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    1. Thanks, Gayle. I set it up last summer when I took a break from writing. The rest is only an hour here and there. But if it grows, I may hire a part-time admin person.

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  2. What an excellent cause, LJ! Kudos to you for doing this. I'm off to your website to donate.

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    1. Thanks. We're not limited to helping people only in Eugene, so friends and donors can always contact me about someone in their area who needs help.

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