Eva Vanhook, a case manager at Family Promise of Bradley County, said the Holmeses began searching on the Internet for a new community where the cost of living was cheaper and safe.
“That’s how they came across Cleveland and this is where they were headed,” Vanhook said. “Their plan was to have enough money for their deposits and first month’s rent and then they would find a job.”
But on the road, there were car trouble and medical problems.
“It just didn’t happen the way they planned,” Vanhook said. “They had to spend their money on unplanned expenses along the way.”
They were in the Cleveland Emergency Shelter when they contacted Family Promise and several other social agencies around town.
“They were immediately getting everything done that needed to be done to get their information transferred to Cleveland and get their kids in school,” she said. “They kept in touch with about three agencies.”
The Holmes family entered Family Promise and graduated to their own home within two months.
“In today’s economy, that’s incredible,” Vanhook said. “The average stay is 76 days, so they did what they needed to do really quick. They were very efficient and worked as hard as they could to get out of the situation they were in.”
George has past experience as a roofer and construction labor. He currently has a job in landscaping. Wendy has been doing janitorial work until she finds a job in a medical office.
“She has experience in medical office work. She’s extremely intelligent and very trainable, and she’ll work until the cows come home,” Vanhook said.
Vanhook said the Holmeses progression through the program is astonishing because they have five kids and it is hard on the children to move from church to church.
“Our volunteers are very good at just loving them while they are there, especially with this family because of the twins. It’s really hard not to just love them when they’re around you because they’re just adorable,” Vanhook said. “It’s hard on them being around a lot of different people all the time, but around here, it’s the same group of people.”
Vanhook said the program is hard. It is not easy, but it is doable.
“They are a perfect example of showing you how to do it,” she said. “Wendy was the face of Family Promise these past two months.”