The Bell Homestead consists of a disabled US Army combat veteran, his wife of 13+ years, and their two sons.
In the spring of 2013, they purchased their first home with cash.
In early 2015 they lost their home and almost everything in it.
They lived in Transitional Housing for Homeless Veterans and their families for 15 months.
In the spring of 2016, they got a housing voucher to rent anywhere in the state that accepts Section 8.
In July of 2016, after months of searching for a place to live, they moved into the first place that they could get into.
They live in a small, old mobile home with a big yard in a nice village.
They struggled a little bit as they went from no housing payments to paying rent in transitional housing, to paying rent and all utilities with section 8 housing assistance, but they continued to get food stamps and heat/electric assistance so things were manageable.
At first, it was good, then the landlord turned into a slumlord.
He can't afford to keep up with the maintenance on the properties he owns, so he wants to sell, but the town won't let him subdivide the lots that the trailers are on.
He is behind on his property taxes.
He is supposed to be responsible for all repairs (and is required to keep the home in good condition with everything in working order to continue to get checks from section 8).
The furnace broke, so their electric bill is over $1200 due to using space heaters to keep the inside temperature at/above 55 degrees.
Their pipes froze several times.
The drains back up when flushing the toilet, using the sinks, using the washer, or using the shower/tub.
There are a few soft spots in the floors, and there are soft spots on the walls under most of the windows.
They've spent hundreds of dollars trying to fix the problems.
The Department of Human Services made complaints.
Still, nothing has improved.
They applied for a Habitat for Humanity home, but unfortunately, they do not bring in enough money to qualify.
Luckily, the Bells found a place to live.
It's in a more southern state where the winters aren't as harsh and the cost of living is much cheaper.
The housing payments will be less than their current portion of their rent.
They will be off food stamps and all government assistance.
The home is newer and bigger than their current home, and it's on 5 unrestricted acres.
They hope to grow their own vegetables, herbs, and fruits again and raise chickens and goats.
They are thrilled at the chance to be able to homestead again.
They just need a little bit of help with the down payment, and they need help getting down there (their vehicle failed inspection and is not safe to drive) and getting settled (getting utilities set up, getting licenses, registering the vehicle, getting major appliances, getting basic home furnishings, getting groceries, etc).