From homelessness to homeowners: How one family persevered through the unthinkable

The Anderson's donated blue Dodge Grand Caravan outside their new home.

BOZEMAN- With help from Family Promise of Gallatin Valley and the Human Resource Development Council in Bozeman, the Anderson family became one of the first to successfully navigate through the emergency shelter program.

The two nonprofits work to help provide shelter among many other programs for families and individuals in the Bozeman community in need.

A key goal of the emergency shelter program of Family Promise is to provide services, including extensive case management, at a third of the cost of traditional shelter.

For the Anderson family, it has been a long road full of twists and turns.

“Our car broke down, we used up all our money to get the car fixed so we had something to get around in and get a job,” Andy Anderson said. “But the job I got didn’t really work out, it was four days a week, 10 dollars an hour and that doesn’t cover anything.”

Andy and his wife Theresa of 33 years take care of their grandchild struggling with stress-induced grand mal seizures.

One of her worst episodes was triggered after a drunk driver totaled their freshly paid-off car while living in transitional housing.

The community heard the story and came out in full support.

“The boy scouts came in, the community came in and whoever donated the van,” Andy explained holding back tears.

Andy said he doesn’t want to know who donated the Dodge Grand Caravan; he just wanted to say thanks.

The van helped them get back on their feet along with help from the HRDC and Family Promise of Gallatin Valley who stepped in.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be in our home today,” Andy said.

With a lot of counseling and guidance, Andy and Theresa got their debts paid off, saved up some money, and moved into their new home almost a week ago and look to take it one small step at a time.

“If I wanted to, I’d have like a small dinette set, a living room set in here already and everything, but we're taking it in baby steps,” Theresa said jokingly.

Christel Chvilicek, executive director of Family Promise, said that in the last six weeks the numbers for their shelter program have tripled.

Chvilicek said they could always use more volunteers and any help possible.

More information and how to help out the Family Promise of Gallatin Valley can be found here.

More information and how to help out the the HRDC in Bozeman can be found here.

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