DALLAS — Whenever Jennifer Richardson is in her old Dallas neighborhood, she stops to see the home that led to her being homeless.
When she and her husband bought the house eight years ago, it was in total disrepair.
The place wasn’t habitable, but a lot of her dreams lived inside. They planned to fix it up and live there forever.
“I seen the character in it and I just wanted that house,” she said. “I just wanted that house so bad.”
Richardson, who works as a hairstylist, poured most of her life savings into the house when her own foundation began to crumble.
First, her four-year marriage came to an end. Then she was forced to sell the house before she ever had a chance to fix it.
She made just $200.
“My heart was broken,” Richardson said. “I was crushed. I didn’t know where to turn, who to turn to. I was helpless.”
She and her daughter were on their own. Then one day, a client told her about a program in Dallas that could give her a place to live and help get her out of poverty.
“And when she told me about it, I was like, ‘that’s not real, it’s too good to be true,’ because I’d never heard of a program like that before,” Richardson said.
It’s called Interfaith Family Services, and it helps people in poverty, like Richardson, get back on their feet.
Chief Operating Officer Christie Richie remembers the day Richardson walked in the door.
“She came in after having all the losses, after going through the divorce, she was still determined,” Richie said.
Interfaith gave Richardson and her daughter a place to live, taught her how to savem, and got her out of poverty.
Today, she has her own apartment, two jobs and enough money in the bank to soon buy a house with her new husband.
Although she never got to fix up the old house - the new owners did that - Richardson says she’s in a much better place and she owes it all to Interfaith.
“They love you, they care about you and they really focus on you,” she said. “They gave me a chance and that was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Anyone can put cash in a cup, but the best way to break the cycle of poverty is to invest in people.