HomeSource of NeighborImpact is piloting a class called Ready to Rent, hosted by the Bethlehem Inn, which teaches people how to overcome obstacles to renting, including tenant rights and how to manage problems in their rental history. Valerie was one of February’s graduates who was kind enough to share her story:

“I was the victim of domestic violence so I ended up at this shelter. Before that had happened I had a housing voucher, and my landlord after seven years didn’t want us to be there and he was charging me $200 a month for late fees on a garbage bill, even though he was supposed to be paying the garbage. So this class has showed me that he can’t do that, and I will be meeting up with an attorney.

“But since I’m doing this single-person thing for the first time since I was 14 years old, this class has given me one more tool in my box. It’s shown me how I can rent things. Even though it was only four days, it was a completion of something.

“So I am praying really hard that I will be able to find a place in Madras for my little boy. Because I miss him so badly. He’s with his family on his dad’s side. But I had never been away from him. So I’m hoping that this will make it so I’m able to rent something. I know that there’s NeighborImpact in Madras. This name in itself means something to me. They have Migrant Head Start, and I was on Policy Council. I was the representative for La Pine. I went to Salem, I advocated for the kids. And now I’m learning to advocate for Valerie.”