School Outreach Caseworker Goes Above and Beyond to Help Local Family

By Samantha Presti

July 30, 2015

 

Since 1990, Habitat For Humanity has empowered 51 families by helping them achieve safe and affordable home ownership within the Southeast Ohio region. Thanks to Athens County Children Services’ very own Becky Handa, one more family will be added to that list. Handa serves as the School Outreach Casework for the Federal Hocking School District and has been working with the family of six, from Amesville, since last August.

Handa started out assisting with school supplies, clothing, food, transportation, and then assisting the family with the social security disability process. Looking to go even further to help out this loving family, she informed about and then assisted them with the Habitat For Humanity (HFH) application process in March. The three month process consists of interviews, proper documentation, home visits with HFH, and settling outstanding debts. This hard work has paid off, and in the spring of 2016, the family will have a new home to call their own.

The entire process, from the beginning of the application to the completion of the new home, will take about one and a half years. At first, the family seemed hesitant to accept the help from HFH, knowing that their current structure, the home their children grew up in, would be demolished. Complicating the process further for the family, they will have to relocate while their new house is being constructed. Handa stated that, “When their application was selected for further review, the family actually hung up on the caseworker for HFH. Hearing over the phone what the next few months would be like, going through this process, was not only overwhelming, but scary.” Handa then broke down the process one week at a time, and offered solutions, one at a time, to help quell the family’s fears. As time went on the family’s first reaction of fear, anxiety, and confusion changed to excitement as they planned their new home. While Handa focuses on her work as ACCS’ School Outreach Caseworker for the Federal Hocking School District, offering services and support to other families in the district, she will continue to be by this family’s side throughout their journey to safe and affordable home ownership.

According to Habitat for Humanity, within Southeast Ohio, one in four families is forced to decide between paying for rent or food, medical bills or transportation. For those interested in volunteering with HFH, Handa says, “DO IT! It has to be one of the most rewarding things to help a family in need live in a safe, affordable home! Too many of our families in Athens County are living in deplorable conditions due to poverty, but HFH proves that you don’t have to be rich to have something nice.” ACCS is hoping to volunteer at HFH build site for this family this upcoming spring.

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