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Nonprofits Help Pueblo Grandmother Move from Homeless to Home

May 24, 2016

PUEBLO, Colo. – Homeless to Home, a new initiative created by Energy Outreach Colorado to help Coloradans without permanent housing establish their own homes, recently benefited a Pueblo senior raising two grandchildren. Mary, 64, has had a lifetime of adversity. She lost a baby, her husband died of a heart attack while their five children were still at home, and she was diagnosed with kidney failure several years ago, ending her ability to work as a certified nursing assistant. Now she's raising two of her 15 grandchildren while undergoing dialysis three times a week.

After months of living with various family members, Mary finally obtained authorization to move into subsidized rental housing. But an old debt from a closed utility account nearly blocked the opportunity. She turned to Catholic Charities of Pueblo, which partners with Energy Outreach Colorado to provide energy bill payment assistance, and was enrolled in EOC's Homeless to Home program.

Catholic Charities case manager Brittany Taylor, left, helps Mary with paperwork.

Through the program, Mary's debt was paid and she'll receive extensive case management including budgeting and other resource support for six months as she becomes self-sufficient.

"You do what you have to," Mary said. "People don't understand what it's like to lose so much. You just have to pray that something good happens and keep on going."
Energy Outreach collaborates with agencies across Colorado to facilitate the transitions of limited-income families and individuals into permanent housing by paying utility bills from previous residences that prevented them from establishing utility service in their new homes. The program also helps clients avoid eviction by providing energy assistance to households that have experienced homelessness within the past 6 months. In many cases, clients' debts exceed $1,000.

Catholic Charities Case Manager Brittany Taylor provides support for Mary and said that Energy Outreach Colorado's assistance has made a huge difference to Mary and her family. "Sometimes this kind of assistance is the only way for someone to get back on solid ground and break the cycle of poverty," she said.

About Energy Outreach Colorado

Energy Outreach Colorado is the only non-profit organization in Colorado that raises funds to help low-income Coloradans afford home energy and remain warm and safe in their homes. Established in 1989, Energy Outreach Colorado works with partner assistance organizations, vendors and subcontractors across the state to provide energy bill payment assistance, emergency home furnace repair, weatherization services, energy efficiency grants for affordable housing and nonprofit facilities, energy education, and advocacy on behalf of low-income energy consumers.

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