Affordable Housing Tenant in Clemson, South Carolina, Achieving Self-Sufficiency
Pam Broome, began her employment career with the Westminster Company in March 2011 as a Resident Service Coordinator at Creekwood Village Apartments, a HUD insured affordable housing community consisting of 76 units (100% Section 8), located in Clemson, South Carolina. Immediately, she began performing client need assessments to gain information regarding the tenant population. As a result, she learned that the residential population at Creekwood Apartments included four generations of families living in subsidized housing, and she quickly realized that something had to be done to break the cycle.
Subsequently, Ms. Broome contacted a program called “Ripple of One.” Unfortunately, at that time the Ripple of One Program was exclusively operated in Oconee County. Therefore, residents did not qualify for participation due to the fact that Creekwood Village is located in Pickens County. However, Ms. Broome did not allow this small obstacle to prevent her from contacting the program’s director which resulted in the program being expanded into Pickens County. Additionally, a partnership was formed in June 2012 when Creekwood Village became the satellite office for “Ripple of One” in Pickens County.
Due to the nature of the program and enrollment requirements, participants may only be accepted into the program once others have graduated. However, to become established at Creekwood Village, the program agreed to immediately accept one resident based on Ms. Broome’s recommendation. Of course, this was not a difficult task since Ms. Broome had met the perfect candidate, a resident fondly known as “Val”.
Val came into the office early every morning to use the HUD Approved Neighborhood Networks Center (NN) and its computer to check her son’s school progress. The NN Staff noticed that Val was very polite, but a little shy. Further inquiries revealed that Val had a serious heart condition, suffered from anxiety attacks, lacked self-confidence, had dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, and was extremely self-conscious about her appearance since the medications that she had been prescribed for a heart condition had caused her teeth to deteriorate. However, Center staff developed a relationship with Val, gained her trust and worked to enhance Val’s lack of self-confidence.
In July 2011, Val was accepted into The Ripple of One Program, was assigned a personal mentor and in August 2011 she enrolled in GED classes with the help of her mentor even though she had to utilize public transportation requiring a commute of one hour each way. Val faithfully attended classes four days a week, and in January 2012 she passed the GED test with the highest score in her class of approximately 50 people. As a reward, “Ripple of One” provided funding for the dental work she needed. Of course, Val has not stopped smiling!
In August 2012, Val began classes at Tri-County Technical College with educational goal of earning an Associate’s Degree in Administrative Office Technology. Her current GPA is 3.0 (B). In addition to attending class, managing her home, and raising a teenager, Val volunteers 10-15 hours each week at a local medical office to earn practical experience.
Val’s achievements would make anyone proud, but Val is especially deserving of praise because during the time that she was working toward her GED and starting college, she had heart surgery, and both of her parents and her sister died. Despite the obstacles, Val continues to work toward her goal of giving herself and son a better life. She still rides public transportation to and from class each day because she is banking her rewards/savings with “Ripple of One” for a down payment on her own home.
Val’s projected graduation date is December 2013 and staff at Creekwood Village Apartments continue to be actively involved in her life. It is noted that Creekwood Village is the only Section 8 property directly involved with “Ripple of One” and three more residents have been accepted into the program.
Learn more about “Ripple of One” by visiting http://rippleofone.org
Pamela Broome, Resident Service Coordinator, Creekwood Village Apartments contributed to this article. Westminster Company is the HUD approved management agent for Creekwood Village Apartments.