BGood Homestead is a family of 4 (disabled veteran, wife w/ disabilities, 2 kiddos) who had a small homestead (completely paid for after 15 months) in their hometown and were living a self-sufficient lifestyle in 2013.
In 2015 they had help from their county's Community Action Program which offered free winter weatherization. The county did not help, instead they deemed the trailer too old and not worth fixing. They instead condemned the home.
They lost their home, their homestead, and everything it.
They were fortunate to get a spot in a homeless shelter for disabled veterans and their families in a city 40 miles away, but the "rent" was high and they had to go on Food Stamps and Medicaid to make ends meet.
In 2016 they luckily got a Section 8 Housing Choice voucher and moved to the first home available to them after 2 months of looking: a trailer in a small, rural village 75 miles away.
Things were a little rough - they're still on government assistance and the rent was still high (and kept going up as income increased while food stamp benefits went down) and they can't save up money, but they're making it work.
They liked their landlord. He seemed like a nice guy. He was successful with the Mr. Mac's franchise restaurants in the Manchester NH area, in Portsmouth NH, and in Mass.
They were happy that they were able to have a garden again, and they could continue to make and sell candles and crafts.
In 2018 things started to fall apart (literally).
Their rented trailer was falling apart.
Their furnace stopped working and after the landlord couldn't fix it, he went no contact, and stopped paying his property taxes.
They (barely) survived the winter.
The electricity stopped working in 2 and a half of the 3 bedrooms, the bathroom, one of the hallways, and half the living room.
They all had to share one bedroom with a space heater to try to keep from freezing to death. The heated part of their home rarely got up to 60 degrees, and often hovered around 40 during the night.
Their electric bill went to over $400 per month during the cold months (it normally was around $60, and the previous winters were around $150).
The unheated part of the home was covered in thick layers of ice inside.
Many people tried to help (DHHS, DCYF, community services, the town where they lived, NH Housing, and HUD).
In the spring things got worse.
The ice melted and mold formed everywhere.
The walls, ceilings, floors, and support beams all warped and rotted.
Moldy insulation was coming out of the warped siding.
They lost furniture, clothing, toys, stuffed animals, important documents, and hundreds of books due to the moisture/mold/rotting/warping.
There were holes in the floor, ceiling, and walls.
They all had breathing issues from the mold.
The outlets randomly sparked.
It was scary and unsafe.
NH Housing got involved and forced the landlord to make repairs or they wouldn't be sending him anymore payments.
They put in applications for housing everywhere within 150 miles (the furthest family would help drive).
The landlord made an attempt at repairing the furnace (by draining the kerosene that they had gotten with the help of their county's fuel assistance and putting in new kerosene and finally having someone work on the furnace).
It worked for a few hours, but he told NH Housing that it was all good.
They spent a lot of their tax return trying to fix things up (replace drywall, floors, outlets, etc), but it was just too much.
NH Housing got involved again and actually inspected. The person was shocked at how bad everything was and said that no one should have to live in such conditions.
NH Housing agreed to pay for one more month, but wouldn't pay anymore for a home that was uninhabitable.
In the summer they finally got accepted into low income housing in a small city 40 miles away.
Their current apartment is nice and safe, but their living situation is not ideal.
Their rent went up by more than $100 while their food stamps went down by more than $80.
They had to rehome a beloved pet before they could move in.
The kids had to leave behind their friends and their school.
The woman had to go without services as their new county had a long wait-list, so she suffered quite a bit and lost a lot of progress that she had made with her old providers.
They aren't allowed to have a garden or outdoor container garden with edible plants.
They aren't allowed to have candles or wax melts. (They had to get rid of their inventory quickly, at a loss).
They aren't allowed to make and sell crafts or do any other business from their new home.
BGH is saving up (the best that they can) with the hopes of moving south where the cost or rent (or a mortgage payment) is cheaper than their current rent and the weather isn't so harshly cold.
They want to move someplace warmer and much cheaper where they can get off of all government assistance and rebuild their homesteading, self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle.
Follow their journey on www.bgoodhomestead.com or on Twitter @BGoodHomestead.
Show them some love with a little "coffee" at https://ko-fi.com/bgoodhomestead.