But sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. And recently, affordable housing has decreased in Denver — increasing concerns for Tony and other families.
“We went from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom apartment, and then we had to leave there … that’s when things really got crazy,” he said. “We ended up moving out to Centennial, and I lost everything. My car. My job. All my money.”
Today is different. Tony and his 11-year-old daughter, Faith, and 9-year-old son, Donny, are in their apartment through a Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program at Family Promise.
“I couldn’t do this without the program because rents are so high. My mind is still coming out of survival mode from the last few years,” he said. “I’ve started to be able to relax and to think about things I’m supposed to be thinking about instead of where we’re going to live. Or how we’re going to eat.”
Family Promise pays a portion of rental assistance while families work toward covering a 100% of apartment costs.
Now Tony can focus on moving forward.
“I’m thinking about other priorities like placing the kids in Cub and Girl Scouts,” he said.
The family’s apartment has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“My favorite part is my room because I get my own space,” Faith said.
Tony also has his favorite section.
“The living room is my favorite space. Music is my thing, and that’s where my stereo is,” Tony said. “I play drums and the guitar, and the kids bought me a guitar amp for Christmas.”
The family has been making memories since they moved in early November, celebrating their first Christmas in the new home.
“It was our first Christmas at our own place in years,” Tony said.”
“We got a lot more presents than we usually do,” Faith said. “This Christmas was a lot better.”
Their apartment also has a lawn, and Faith and Donny are already smiling as they plan for water balloon fights and summer fun.
“I’ve wanted a yard for them since they were in diapers. I’m even trying to build an outdoor living room,” Tony said. “We acquired some lawn furniture from our landlord.”
And the family is in a familiar neighborhood.
“I picked this place because I’ve been trying to keep them in the same school,” Tony said. “Our first apartment was right across the parking lot when Faith was only a year old.”
Tony also has a plan to assume apartment payments as he transitions out of the Family Promise program.
“This rental program has changed my outlook dramatically,” Tony said. “It has actually helping me to foster a career path that makes more sense instead of just taking a job because I have a bill do in the next three days or month.”
He applied for scholarship funding to take accounting and bookkeeping classes at the Accounting and Business School of the Rockies. The semester starts this June.
“It’s a five-month program, so I’ll be graduating in the fall,” Tony said. “I’ve discovered that when I have time to think and set out a plan, I’m actually pretty good at achieving it.”
He has built a brighter future and is breaking the cycle of homelessness.
“I have not been this happy in a long time. Even in my sleep, I swear I’m conscious of how blessed I am,” Tony said. “Things will come together. This program is allowing this all to happen.”
Family Promise is seeking additional partnerships with metro-area landlords: Learn more about our rental-assistance program +