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Stories of HOPE
Chokelis a Veteran whoserved the United States Army in Fort Hood, Bosnia, Korea, and Germany. At the end of his service, he built a life for himself and his family in Virginia. His strong skills in mechanics and construction enabled him to make a good living and provide a happy home for his family. In 2005, a divorce, heartbreak, and minor legal trouble in Virginia brought Chokel to Atlanta with nothing but a car full of tools. When the recession hit, work became harder to find, andChokel was involved in a terrible car accident. He experienced crippling physical pain, and the eruption of bottled up emotional pain stemming from abuse and neglect he experienced as a child. Chokel found himself drinking to soothe his physical and mental pain. The debilitating pain often preventedChokel from working, and as a result he became homeless, living on the street, unable to pay for the extended stay motel he had been living in.
Chokel’sfirst glimmer of hope came in the form of his beautiful fiancée. They shared similar experiences, a lifetime of challenges, and came together as a new blended family of eleven. Chokel and his fiancée could only find sporadic work, and relied on temporary housing solutions for their new growing family. In spite of their love and support for one another, in December of 2014, Chokel hit rock bottom, the electricity in his apartment was turned off, and he was again facing eviction. It seemed like there was nowhere for his family to go, and that they’d be living on the streets in the middle of winter. Chokel searched desperately to find a place to stay, and was able to save up to stay in an extended stay motel until his family could move into a shelter. At the shelter, Chokel began to receive counseling for past and present trauma, and he was then referred to HOPE Atlanta for housing. Chokel’s case manager, Marita, bridged gaps in the family’s needs by guiding them to community resources, and assistance for army Veterans. When the family’s time in the shelter ran out, HOPE Atlanta assisted Chokel with temporary housing, long enough for him and his wife to start new jobs, and Marita connected Chokel with a realtor to find a home big enough for the whole family. HOPE Atlanta then assisted Chokel and his family with the housing deposit, utilities, and referred them to a furniture bank.
Today, Chokel and his family live in a fully furnished 3 bedroom home in a safe neighborhood with plenty of room for the children to run and play. Chokel and his wife are working, self-sufficient, and continuing counseling. “HOPE Atlanta ushered us from homelessness to our own home in less than six months, and has provided us with HOPE that we will always hold on to.”
As a result of mounting medical bills and not being able to work, Sandra’s home was foreclosed on. She and her teenage daughter Rebecca ended up living in an extended-stay hotel in Covington, GA – outside of Rebecca’s school district.
While helping to care for her sick mother, Rebecca excelled in her schoolwork and was advised she would be valedictorian of her high school graduating class.
When Rebecca began to miss classes due to her inability to get to school, she was threatened with suspension. Desperate to help her daughter, Sandra contacted HOPE Atlanta.
HOPE Atlanta case managers worked with the City of Atlanta Public School System to keep Rebecca enrolled in school. We also gave Sandra transportation assistance so that she could attend important doctor’s visits. Within a week, HOPE Atlanta placed Sandra and Rebecca in temporary housing with free rent until Rebecca’s graduation in May of 2017 and are currently working to find Sandra permanent housing.
Rebecca plans to study Engineering at Duke University in the fall where she was awarded a full scholarship.
“It was truly a blessing to be involved with an organization that was not only able to help but willing.”