TACOMA, Wash. — Tommy O. knows better than most that life can change quickly, and everything you’ve worked hard for can vanish.
“It just seemed like a flash.”
A few months ago, the devoted husband and father of two young children suffered a debilitating health situation. He went on short-term disability with his job at the time.
“We were barely making it (but my wife) was taking care of me also,” Tommy said. His wife was struggling balancing her own work, caring for Tommy and taking care of their kids.
“She got overwhelmed,” he said. “So we tried to live off of my disability checks.”
Tommy says shortly after that his company decided to let him go before he was fully recovered, and suddenly his family was without any income altogether.
“At that point my heart sank because I didn’t know what we were going to do,” he said.
They fell behind on rent and their landlord wouldn’t renew their lease.
The family of four found themselves living in a tent when they couldn’t stay with family.
“There was a lot of lost hope,” Tommy said. “The biggest part for me and my wife was not knowing where to start. We couldn’t figure out where the starting point was.”
That’s where Valeo Vocation has been able to help. Tommy connected with Valeo CEO Sherri Jensen and was back to work again with consistent employment the very next day.
As his case manager, Sherri was able to help negotiate down what he owed in back-rent and set up a payment plan. While they work towards permanent housing, Tommy and his family are staying in partner organization Tacoma Rescue Mission’s family shelter. Valeo and Tacoma Rescue Mission will be assisting the family with move-in costs when they do find permanent housing.
“My confidence level is pretty high now,” Tommy said.
Tommy and his wife say Valeo’s case management and advocacy on their behalf has helped restore their hope.
“We feel a lot more safe now for sure,” he said. “Knowing the kids have somewhere to sleep makes us feel a lot better.”
Through it all, providing for his wife and kids has been Tommy’s number one priority, and what keeps him motivated to work hard every day.
“My family is my life. They mean the world to me.”
If you would like to help Valeo Vocation continue to support families like Tommy’s get back on their feet, you can donate here.
Tommy was featured on Q13 News as a part of their profile on Valeo Vocation.
Valeo Vocation is a new nonprofit social enterprise in Tacoma, WA focused on helping those experiencing homelessness obtain stable employment and permanent housing. At Valeo Vocation, our name defines our values. Valeo is Latin, meaning strong, well, healthy, having worth. Vocation is employment for which a person is suited and trained, and which is regarded as worthy and requiring dedication.
Valeo Vocation strives to see our clients, customers and community be strong and healthy. We believe that every person has intrinsic value, and a special purpose for which they are uniquely suited. When a person is working in their purpose, they are inherently strong, and contributing not only to their individual wellbeing, but making their entire community a better place.
Valeo Vocation is a unique social enterprise which reduces homelessness in our communities through an innovative and sustainable model which provides up to 80% of gross revenue to operate. The rest is through generous donations from community members who also want to make a difference. If you'd like to donate or get your business involved click here.
Valeo Vocation is a Washington Nonprofit Corporation, under fiscal sponsorship of Cardo Community, a Section 501c3 nonprofit. Your contribution may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. Donors are encouraged to consult with their tax advisor or the IRS to determine whether a contribution is deductible.