Like many women who've left an abusive marriage, my friend Angel has learned how difficult it is to leave the marriage and to survive afterwards. She has learned that the abuse damaged her not only physically and emotionally, but that it also has affected her ability to make a fresh start on her own.
When Angel found the courage to leave her abusive marriage, she knew she couldn't leave her beloved Boxer dog behind because the dog would receive the brunt of her husband's anger once she was gone. Although her family was willing to take her in, they could not take her dog as well. Desperately Angel searched for someone who would take her dog on short notice, because she couldn't bear to return the dog to a rescue environment. I was contacted by a friend of a friend, and I agreed to foster her dog.
Angel left her home, her job, her friends, her dog, and all that was familiar to her. After several months she realized how much her abusive husband had taken from her: her move to safety meant she lost her home, jointly-owned possessions including their car, her friends, and her beloved dog. She returned to Kansas City and began a fresh start with her life.
However, rebuilding a life with nothing is difficult. Statistics show that women in abusive relationships are often reduced to poverty as a result, and Angel was no exception. Her old job was no longer available, she had no place to sleep but on a friend's couch, and she had to share a friend's car in order to look for work. Money she had earned and turned over to her abusive husband in the past had been used for his fun, rather than for paying utilities that were--of course--in Angel's name, leaving her with bills for past-due utilities.
Angel was able to acquire a $600 car to use for work. She also moved in with a friend's relative who allowed her to have her dog back. My family and I continue to provide dog food, veterinary care, and other dog needs so that Angel is not forced to return the dog to rescue.
Eventually, Angel turned to public assistance for housing but discovered that the "system" is full of cracks. Landlords are not required to accept a person with a housing voucher, and Angel's past credit problems resulted in being turned down for an apartment multiple times despite the guarantee of government payment for her rent. With less than two weeks before her housing voucher was set to expire, a sympathetic job coach hooked her up with a landlord known to help people in tough situations who has accepted Angel's application pending approval her voucher.
However, the available apartment costs more than she had hoped and no utilities are included. Angel needs to come up with a deposit, and pay the old utility bills in her name. She is currently working to pay off the two smaller utility bills. She owes $505 for electricity, and $725 for the deposit. Funds raised will be paid to Evergy and the landlord. In order to secure the apartment before the voucher expires, the money for the deposit is needed by Friday, December 13, 2019. The remainder of the money will need to be paid prior to December 31 so that she can get utilities turned on in the apartment. Angel has applied to several local agencies and has been turned down for assistance.
In the past 15 months since I've known Angel, I've been amazed at her personal growth. She is learning to be independent from men, and has learned many of the warning signs to avoid another abusive relationship with a man. She is learning money management skills and how to pinch a penny until it squeals for mercy. I have every confidence that given the opportunity, Angel will get her fresh start and establish herself as a responsible, caring member of society.
- Angela Sims
- Jack Hofmockel
- Sheila Weiss