Today, we want to give a fictionalized account of what many of our neighbors in La Porte County face on a monthly basis. The truth is this account is representative of so many of our neighbors in our communities across La Porte County. We hope that this illustrates the struggles that individuals are facing in their daily lives in reality. It is our goal as an organization that our community members do not have to live this way. 

Meet Sarah, a single mother living in La Porte County. Like 48.3% of renters in our community, Sarah spends over 30% of her income on rent. Sarah lives in a modest apartment for her daughter and herself. This is what life looks like for Sarah.

It’s the first of the month, and Sarah’s stomach churns as she writes out her rent check. At $950, it eats up nearly half of her monthly income. As she seals the envelope, she mentally calculates what’s left: $1,050 to cover everything else for the next 30 days.

Week 1: After paying for utilities and her car payment, Sarah has $600 left. She breathes a sigh of relief – it’s more than last month. Maybe this time, she won’t have to visit the food bank.

Her relief is short-lived. That evening, her daughter, complains of a toothache. Sarah knows she needs to see a dentist, but she hesitates. Can she afford it? She decides to wait and see if it gets better. A dentist bill would use up the funds Sarah has to feed her daughter for the month.

Week 2: The refrigerator is getting empty, and Sarah dreads going grocery shopping. She pulls out coupons and plans meals carefully, trying to stretch every dollar. As she checks out, despite counting every penny, she’s spent $200 – nearly a third of what she had left for the month.

That night, she lies awake, worrying about her daughter’s tooth and wondering how she’ll make it to payday.

Week 3: Her daughter’s toothache has gotten worse. Sarah can’t put it off any longer and makes a dentist appointment. The bill comes to $150 – money she doesn’t have. She works out a payment plan with the dentist that is barely affordable. But Sarah is glad the dentist understood and allowed her to pay in installments.

With only $250 left for the rest of the month, Sarah starts to panic. She cancels her internet service – her daughter will have to do her homework at the library or school now.

Week 4: The car breaks down. The mechanic says it will cost $300 to fix. Sarah feels tears welling up. She needs the car to get to work, but she simply doesn’t have the money. She borrows from her elderly parents, adding to the guilt she already feels.

As the month ends, Sarah is exhausted. She’s juggled bills, skipped meals so her daughter could eat, and lies awake at night worrying about expenses. And in just a few days, it all starts over again with the next rent check.

This is the reality for many in La Porte County. The Indiana Housing Dashboard reports that 65% of extremely low-income renters are cost-burdened, just like Sarah. With a projected deficit of over 1,400 low-income rental units in our county, many families have no choice but to stretch their budgets to the breaking point just to keep a roof over their heads.

It doesn’t have to be this way. At Homeward Bound Villages, we’re working to create affordable housing solutions that can break this cycle. Our cooperative housing model not only provides affordable rent but also builds a supportive community where residents can thrive, not just survive.

Imagine if Sarah’s rent was affordable. She could take her daughter to the dentist without fear. She could keep the internet on for her daughter’s homework. She could even start saving for emergencies or her daughter’s future.

We’re working towards a future in which no one in La Porte County has to choose between rent and other basic needs. But we need your help to make it a reality.

Join us in our mission to create affordable housing in our community. Together, we can write a new story for Sarah and the many others like her in La Porte County.

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