Family Nears Eviction After Charity Runs Out Of Money

LAKE ODESSA, Mich. – Anxiety is high for a West Michigan family on the verge of eviction from their mobile home in Lake Odessa.

Sean Wolcott is worried about where he, his 8-year-old son, and his girlfriend Amber will be spending Christmas this year.

Wolcott has been scrambling to get the more than $1000 he currently owes his landlord or he could be evicted as soon as December 17th.

This family said they were promised help from a local charity a month ago only to be told recently that charity has run out of money.

The name of the charity that said they could help Wolcott is RAVE, which stand for Relief After Violent Encounter.   In addition to helping victims of abuse and violence RAVE also attempts to help those on verge of losing their homes in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

“We help with individuals that are homeless or at risk of being homeless and provide them with some financial assistance,” said RAVE’s executive director Erin Roberts.

Wolcott said he came to RAVE because he can’t work due to injuries from a car crash in his past.  He said he has applied for disability pay which he expects will come next year.

Wolcott said met with a RAVE caseworker in November and said he was promised more than he even asked for.

“She told me that we will help you out for November and we will help for December and that will get you through the first of the year,” said Wolcott.

RAVE has a set amount of money to help people in Wolcott’s position.

Roberts said, “That line was originally $7,000, we bumped it up to $17,000.  So we’ve done our best to dump funds into the line item as best we could and help as many as they could.”

However in this case, the money promised to Wolcott was spent on other families.  Wolcott said he found out there was no money for him after he’d been served an eviction notice.

“I wanted to scream,” said Wolcott.  “How can you tell me that you are going to help me and not? I didn’t know what to do.”

Wolcott said he knows the charity had good intentions but he was given a false sense of hope that his problem was solved.  When he found out that he still owed the money and time was running out he started contacting churches for help.

“It breaks our hearts because this is the work we do,” said Roberts.  “Unfortunately the funds go faster than the help can get to them.  So what we are doing is looking internally at how we can best make sure that situations like one you’ve been discussing don’t occur again.”

Roberts said since FOX 17 brought this issue to her attention she has set up an online account at gofundme.com/ravehomelessprevention.

Roberts said with the community’s support they won’t have to rely so heavily on federal funding.

“When the community steps up, the individuals get the support they need,” said Roberts.

Wolcott said he has contacted over 20 churches and is close to collecting all the money he needs to stay in his home for another month.

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