Amanda O’Brian enrolled in Merryman House’s IDA program determined to escape the domestic violence that kept her from building a secure life for herself and her two daughters.
“I had a pattern of bad relationships, and I wanted to break it for my kids,” she said. “I’d moved five or seven times in five years, and I just wanted to be rooted.”
When an advocate suggested she open an IDA, Amanda saw a path to the life she wanted.
Today she is the proud owner of a cottage-style home in Paducah. The two-bedroom house, framed by trellises covered in climbing roses, has a fenced-in back yard with established flower gardens and a strawberry patch.
A few years earlier, the family had moved to New Mexico after Amanda’s then-husband promised that a change of scenery would “make him a whole new person.” The move didn’t work out, and they decided to return to Kentucky. When their car broke down on the drive home, Amanda’s parents bought her another one.
The night they arrived home, her husband destroyed the new car with a hammer and then threatened to harm their daughters. Amanda left with her girls immediately.
With help from Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center, Amanda got back on her feet. She and her daughters moved into one of the shelter’s apartments and received rental assistance through a Section 8 voucher. Working as a massage therapist, Amanda began saving for a home. Amanda’s $2,000 in savings were matched 2:1, so she had $6,000 toward the purchase of her first home.
Amanda’s advocate worked with her to negotiate with collection agencies to pay off about $1000 in debt. She also used a credit-building microloan to establish a positive line of credit that would help her obtain a mortgage.
Earlier this year, Amanda was approved for an FHA mortgage at 3.25% interest. She closed on her house in late June 2013. Soon after that she kept a promise made to her 6-year-old daughter and got the family a puppy.
“I can finally appreciate how far I’ve come now that the bank has said, ‘Yes, we will give you a loan’,” Amanda said. “This program will give you that.”
This is just one example of how the programs that KDVA provides to their member shelter programs has made a difference to the families of Kentucky. Won't you help us as we continue to end intimate partner violence and people like Amanda get their lives back? Yes, your donation will make a difference! Please donate NOW!