June 18th, 2012
“Good things are coming down the road . . . Just don’t stop walking.” ― Unknown
My family and I are still living in a hotel. Quite frankly, I didn’t expect us to be able to stay here anywhere near this long. So many people have helped us, and I just can’t begin to express my gratitude at being able to keep our family together this long. But we are still in dire need of immediate financial help, to keep us in the hotel and off the streets or out of a shelter and to hopefully find some more permanent housing quickly, so our PayPal account is still open, and if anyone would like to send us some more monetary help in any amount whatsoever, they can do it at this link:
If someone wants to help but doesn’t want to do it online, our post office is holding our mail for us, so if you prefer, you can continue to send us anything you’d like through the mail (although PayPal gets to us much quicker):
Von Regan Davis
5696 Forest Birch Lane
Columbus, OH 43229-3723
However, I can’t stress enough how extremely important it is to me that anyone who reads this understands that, just because I ask the world for help does not mean that I think that the world owes me anything. No one else is responsible for my family but me. As I have said before, if it was just me, I wouldn’t even ask. I ask for my wife and our young daughter. But more than anything, I want to work, to take care of my own family and my own responsibilities and, as so many people have asked me to do when they’ve helped us, to pay it forward. My resume, along with some professional recommendations and links to examples to my work, can be found on my Linkedin profile:
We need help still, and we are praying for some sort of a miracle soon. I am so grateful to have been still together with my family for Father’s Day. My nine-year-old daughter Izabella took some blank paper and her crayons and drew me a card. On the front was a giant heart. Inside, she drew our whole family . . . Mommy, Daddy, our cats Buckeye and Morris, our dogs Dizzy and Duke, and Izabella. She wrote, “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. Love, Izabella.” When she gave it to me, she kissed me and whispered in my ear, “Thanks for keeping our family together, Daddy.” It took me nearly a half-hour to completely stop crying. I start crying again every time I look at it.
I’ve been trying to shake every tree I can think of. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think that I was going to be able to keep us here and together for more than a week. We’re at a fairly decent hotel, and they’ve been very good to us here. They don’t charge any extra for the pets, they’ve given us a pretty reasonable weekly rate, there’s a free continental breakfast every day, and there’s a small refrigerator, a small microwave and, most important of all, free high-speed Internet access. We have food stamps, there’s a Kroger Marketplace that’s fairly close by, and there’s a park nearby, which helps to keep Bella from going stir-crazy. Almost every day, I think it’s going to be our last day here, but then something comes up or someone steps up, and we get another day or two, so we’ve made it to the 18th now one day at a time, and I think I’ve got at least another day or two covered for sure right now. Plus, I’m in the bonus program for this hotel chain, so we should have a free night or two coming soon. The daytime manager has been checking us out every day and then checking us right back in, without changing rooms, so that we get credit towards our free nights right away. I spend all day on the phone and all night on the computer . . . Being homeless and poor is actually a lot of work. We get cash from the county Job & Family Services every month on the first, so we’re trying to keep it together until then, which will take care of the rental of our storage unit for July and give us another week or so here, plus a free night or two. After that, I’m not sure. We’ll get our cash assistance again the first of August, then Angy starts working in August. I start my training classes for H & R Block to be a tax preparer in late July – lots more hours and lots more money per hour next tax season. I was just basically office help/greeter last tax season, but my office manager and district manager loved me and gave me the highest reviews possible, and they’ve promised me a spot for next season in the same office, which is very close to here. Once Angy starts working, Jobs & Family Services has a program called PRC that we will be eligible for, which will give us a one-time lump sum payment of an additional $1,000.00 that we can use to get ourselves into an apartment, but you have to be working to get that (something about not throwing good money after bad, the case worker says . . . They want to know that they’re not going to give you the money, then have you right back in the same spot in a month or two, which I can understand). I’m still sending out resumes every day, so hopefully I’ll find something sooner than August. And I’ve worked parking for Ohio State during football season the last three seasons, and the supervisor there loves me too, since their turnover is pretty high, and I’m one of the few that have stayed with them so long. The first game isn’t until September 1st, but then the first four games are all at home, and they’re pretty long days – you start at 4 or 5 in the morning, and you go until after the game starts, and for night games you’re there for all day long. So basically, IF I can keep us healthy and together through June and July, things will start to get better and we should slowly get back on our feet on our own. IF . . .
I don’t always know what to say when I write these blog entries, so I’ve decided to answer some of the questions people have been asking. Some of the same questions are coming up a lot, so I figure that everybody probably wants to know the same things about what’s going on with us.
–“You may get more help if you find a family shelter that has counselors in house. I know this is not an option you want and I don’t blame you in the least. But investigate the shelters and see who has help on site.”
Even if I thought that we could do better at a shelter, it’s not an option right now. I’ve contacted every single family shelter in the county, and all of them are over-capacity and are not taking any new intakes right now. The best that any of them can do right now is offer us some cots in the hallway, and only for a short time. Angy can barely get comfortable enough to sleep in a regular bed because of her fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy, and with her sleep apnea, she can’t sleep at all without her breathing machine. I honestly believe that going to a shelter might kill her. I’m afraid that I might lose her anyway, even if we’re able to stay here, because her arthritis and her depression are getting worse, as well. It doesn’t do us any good if I’m able to keep us together until Angy’s job starts, and then she’s not physically able to do it anymore. This is a major source of stress for me right now, and that’s not even mentioning what lack of sleep and stress are doing to me and my brain tumor. I try hard not to let them see how it’s all affecting me, but they’re not stupid. All three of us have appointments with our family doctor this Thursday afternoon, so we’ll see then how we’re all doing. But for Angy and I especially, it’s not good.
–“The sad fact is Angy & Izabella would probably get more help if you weren’t with them. It doesn’t mean that you can’t see them and spend time with them, it’s just how jacked up our system is when it comes to families and how they are helped. This sucks mightily but sometimes you gotta play the game.”
Believe me, I am painfully aware of the inequities of the system out there. I am a human man in the United States with a family, who has never abused alcohol or drugs, never been to prison, with a high school diploma and two college degrees, who has never physically or emotionally abused or molested my child or my wife, willing and able to work and trying desperately to keep my family together. All of these would seem to be good qualities in a person, and yet these are the same things that seem to put me at the very bottom of the priority list as far as who people want to help. If I couldn’t read or didn’t have my high school diploma, I could get plenty of help. If I was a recovering addict or an ex-con or a veteran, there is lots of help for me. If I left the girls or if I had abused them in some way, they could get lots of help. If I was completely disabled, I could get help. If I lived in a Third World country, I could get help. If we were dogs or cats or some other kind of homeless animal or an endangered species, I would probably have been helped already. I’m not saying that none of these other groups deserve any help, not at all. But it seems like there is absolutely nothing out there for a regular, decent, educated, responsible husband and father who just can’t find a job right now. It is EXTREMELY frustrating, in a way that completely boggles the mind and irritates me to no end. The girls are very aware of this as well, but despite my best efforts to try and convince them repeatedly that they would be better off in the long run if they tried to go it on their own, they want us to stay together. Partly because they’re not really all that sure that they could do any better without me, and partly because (again, despite all my arguments to the contrary) they are very afraid of what might happen to me if I was all by myself. We’re a family, and we’re in this together, and we’re going to find a way to get through this together.
–“Have you called your congress person for help?”
Not only have I contacted our congress people, I’ve contacted all of them. Literally. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I have contacted every single member of the Ohio Senate, the Ohio House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, the White House, the Ohio governor, the mayor of Columbus, and every single city, county, state, and national cabinet member or department head I’ve been able to find email contact information for. The only one that I have heard from recently is Ohio’s U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who sent us a form to fill out to formally ask for assistance from his office (apparently, they need an actual signature, not an electronic one, before they can look into our situation on our behalf). Other than that, nothing.
–“See if there is anyone who can keep your animals for you while you supply the food for a period of three months, where you guys could visit them. See if a humane shelter will keep them for a fee. People love animals more than they like people. See if someone who fosters animals is will to do this for you with a written contract to get them back.”
We’ve made lots of phone calls and sent out lots of emails about this, and haven’t found anything yet. It seems that the people that help animals in this area are pretty overwhelmed right now, too. Every time someone gets foreclosed on or evicted, their animals are put out as well. The family shelters are way over-capacity, and so are the animal shelters. Plus, I’d be pretty worried about Duke and Morris. Duke is a rescue, from the ASCPA in Titusville, Florida six years ago. His mother was tied to their door on Christmas Day, right after giving birth. She was tied so tightly, she couldn’t lay down to nurse her puppies. By the time someone came in and found them, only four puppies survived, three girls and a boy. My standing rule on pets, in a house full of girls, has always been that any pet we get has to be a boy, just to help even out the hormones in the family. Duke has always been nervous and scared of his own shadow, except with us, and I’m not sure if he could handle being with anyone else. Morris is a really good cat, but he’s really old. We got him from an adoption service, after an elderly couple gave him up because they just couldn’t take care of him anymore. The adoption people thought that he was three or four years old then, and that was ten years ago. He doesn’t even have all of his teeth, and he is very attached to Angy, and she is very attached to him. Like Izabella says, they’re all part of our family, and we’re all in this together, at least for the time being.
–“Have you approached any churches? I know many churches have members who help people incognito.”
Again, not only have we contacted the church we were going to, we have contacted all of them. Literally. I have contacted every church, every synagogue, and every mosque in the county that I could find email contact information for, and every national and local charity I could find. We’ve had a couple of phone calls, a few small donations, but not much else. The big exception to that is an incredible person named Lynda Chambers, who is our case worker at the Westerville Area Resource Ministry. The churches in the northeast area of Columbus were overwhelmed with the number of requests for aid that they were receiving, so they have joined together into one office to pool their resources and help people more efficiently. Lynda’s actually been our caseworker there for about eighteen months now, and I really don’t know what we would have done without her help. Job leads, help with getting benefits, gas cards when I was having trouble getting back and forth to work . . . She’s even brought us stuff from the food bank on a regular basis ever since we lost our car. I don’t have the words to describe how wonderful she has been to us.
–“I am in your corner praying for you and trying to give you any suggestions I can think of, but I’m having trouble myself, so I can’t help you financially right now.”
I still appreciate it very much. Prayer is a powerful tool in any circumstance, so I’ll take all the prayer I can get. I’ll take all the extra brains thinking about how to help us I can get. And I’ll take all the friends I can get, too. When we get out of this . . . And we WILL get out of this . . . I promise to return the favor.
We still need immediate help, to keep ourselves together and get ourselves into a more stable housing situation. We’re ready to accept any miracle that might come our way, so anyone who wants to help can still send us something via PayPal:
Our post office is holding our mail for us, so if you prefer, you can continue to send us anything you’d like through the mail (although PayPal gets to us much quicker):
Von Regan Davis
5696 Forest Birch Lane
Columbus, OH 43229-3723
However, I want to once again state how extremely important it is to me that anyone who reads this understands that, just because I ask the world for help does not mean that I think that the world owes me anything. No one else is responsible for my family but me. As I said earlier, if it was just me, I wouldn’t even ask. I ask for my wife and daughter. But more than anything, I want to work, to take care of my own family and my own responsibilities and, as so many people have asked me to do when they’ve helped us, to pay it forward. My resume, along with some professional recommendations and links to examples to my work, can be found on my Linkedin profile:
And if any of you are interested, continue to follow this blog and I will keep you posted on how we are doing. I sincerely believe that God has a plan for my family and I, but I also know that God helps those that help themselves. Right now, I continue to think that this blog can be a powerful tool for helping us. And maybe it can help someone else, as well. Stay tuned, help us if you can, continue to keep us in your prayers, and may God bless all of you . . . Peace!
Von Regan Davis