Carl and Priscilla had been together as a couple for 30 years. Life was good, they had a home together and both were employed. Priscilla’s daughter, Caroline, and grandson, Schuyler, lived with them and they were a comfortable family unit.
That all came to a screeching halt four years ago when they were both laid off from their jobs due to budget cuts.
They tried to keep up with their monthly expenses: rent, utilities, food and other basic needs for their home. Both Carl and Priscilla also faced some health issues.
It all became be too much to handle and they made the decision to go their separate ways for financial reasons. Carl, a U.S. Army veteran, went to a U.S. Vets shelter on the Waianae Coast; Priscilla went to a relative’s home; daughter Caroline moved to the Big Island, and Schuyler went back to live back with his father.
They never forgot one another, but Priscilla shares that “being apart and just trying to get by was really tough. I lost my self-confidence.”
Meanwhile, Carl had been on the verge of moving to the Mainland to live with other family members. The turning point was when Carl saw his hanai grandson, Schuyler, by chance. Schuyler shared that he missed them and said, “I want to live with you guys again.” This changed everything, and Carl realized that he needed do something to get everyone back together.
He found Catholic Charities Hawai‘i (CCH) as a resource through U.S. Vets. He was referred to CCH Intake Specialist, Asuka Mitani, who shared weekly postings on possible housing options.
Through the postings, he found an apartment within a few weeks and rallied the family. CCH’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program then provided financial support for the first month’s rent along with wrap-around services by CCH to assist the family in their successful transition back to housing.
This help gave them hope, inspired them, kept them motivated, and finally feeling supported. “Asuka saw potential and we want to do good with what we got. Catholic Charities Hawai‘i gave us hope.” Priscilla said.
They are starting to bond as a family again. There was a lot missing from each of their lives while they were separated, but they’re moving ahead together one step at a time.
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i has helped to provide Carl, Priscilla and their family with life-changing resources to restart their lives together. They can begin to be a family again, refilling the gaps that they lost during their separation.