When Plan A fails…

June 7, 2023

Meet David. He’s a man of simple character with a practical outlook on life.  He taught his children that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” and he has tried to live his life by that. He has planned ahead and worked hard for 55 years to provide for his family. David is a grandpa, soccer fan, and a homeowner in Kansas City, Kansas.

A collection of items on a shelf. One of the items is a globe, one is a seashell, and another is a sign that says "grandpa = big hugs and great stories"

Before he moved into his home 7 years ago, David lived in a small apartment. “I felt like a caged lion,” he said. He loves being a homeowner and feels his home is his “domain,” his space to move around and feel comfortable.

David moved to Kansas City 40 years ago. He was visiting Kansas City on a vacation and decided to stay. He thinks it’s a good place to live – with an affordable cost of living and less traffic than places like California, where most of his family lives. As for his neighborhood, “It’s pretty nice,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement, but I’ve been here 7 years, and I feel safe.”

“I just didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to lose my house”

Last year, David lost his job. Thankfully, he was prepared for an emergency; he had several months’ worth of expenses saved and was able to use that to pay his bills. “If I hadn’t had that savings, I would have probably lost my house.”

He was well-prepared for a small emergency, but losing his job and finding a new one at his age was more than he planned for. Always a planner, David began to think about what he could do next. “My Plan A was failing, I get to my Plan B, it was exhausting, and that’s when Plan C came along.”

David was raised to believe you shouldn’t need help unless you were unable to work. “I’ve always been blessed,” he said, “to be able to have a job to provide for myself and my family” – so seeking support was not easy.

But one day at the supermarket, David stopped to talk to El Centro, and while there, he told them about his situation. El Centro referred him to CHWC, where he began to work with Lisandro, CHWC’s Senior Housing Counselor.

“It took a big load off of my mind”

Lisandro was able to help David apply for mortgage assistance through the Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund (KHAF). During the pandemic, CHWC helped a lot of families like David, with direct assistance to help them get through the unique and difficult situations that COVID caused. While CHWC primarily works to tackle the long-term, systemic problems that make it difficult for families to access high-quality housing and financial opportunity, we are also well positioned as a housing counseling agency to provide support to families during special circumstances.


Lisandro, a housing counselor at CHWC, and David, a KCK homeowner, stand on David's front porch talking and drinking coffee.

CHWC has referral partnerships with El Centro and dozens of agencies throughout Wyandotte County, facilitating customers’ access to the resources they need. El Centro and CHWC pointed out “a new pathway” David wasn’t aware of. He knew there were support systems out there, but he’d never needed to access them.

“I was glad that I was able to rely on someone’s knowledge and expertise,” he said. “They walked me through the whole process…. It took a big load off of my mind.”

David said that connecting with CHWC was “kind of a blessing, and it still is because they are kind of helping [him]. . . get back on [his] feet.” It was difficult for David to ask for and accept support and guidance, but he is glad that he did and would do it all over again if he had to. The assistance and guidance David received has helped him get on his feet again, and “now [he] can make [his] own payments”

“Now I can make my own payments”

“You have to learn from the past,” David says, “but you [also] have to move forward.” Now that his finances are looking better, he’s started to make plans for his future. He recently retired and said his goal is to start looking for a part time job, “stay active, and keep busy.” He’s looking forward to paying down some current expenses to be able to use that money elsewhere. “Once I pay off the house, I can relax,” he said. He would especially like to go to Paraguay, Bolivia, and Spain.

When asked to describe what a good neighborhood looks like, he said it’s a place with good neighbors, a clean environment, and safety. CHWC works to invest in the power of our neighbors to build communities that thrive for generations. Our neighborhoods are safer when we have access to the resources we need, and stronger when we work together as good neighbors.

Does that sound like you? See how you can get involved in building strong communities in Kansas City, Kansas.

Lisandro, CHWC's housing counselor, and David, a KCK homeowner, stand on David's front porch.

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