Pam moved to Chatham in 2009 after the recession cost her her long-time job and, despite renting out her off Cape house, put her previous mortgage “under water”. She is a single parent, divorced from, though still friendly with, her son’s father. When they moved here, her son enrolled in school on the upper Cape. He graduated three years ago and is now attending college in Worcester.
“During the 2008-2009 recession, I was out of work for 99 weeks. A first for me,” she mused. Over the years she had been employed as a bookkeeper, an administrative assistant, and a property manager, sometimes doing all three, but when she moved here, she took a waitressing job. She also lost the house which was foreclosed on despite trying to work with the bank for a lower rate or a short sale. To this day, she feels they made a terrible decision. Until that time she had never been unable to pay her bills, and it hurt.
This past summer was not good for her family. Pam was let go from her part-time job because they continually added on enough tasks for a full-time position, and she was unable to complete them all in her allotted time. She contracted COVID, her son had a bout of depression which sincerely worried her, and then she got in a car accident. Fortunately, I can report that all are recovered, and her son is happily back at school.
As a volunteer, they hosted Cape Cod Baseball League players for six years and housed an international student for his high school years, who still spends Thanksgiving with them.
When we spoke, she had just come from a job interview and was feeling good about it. “But” she said, “this is only the second time I have ever been unemployed and I am ready to go to Stop & Shop if this doesn’t come through. I had not felt that way before. I am in a good place.”
She is grateful that she was able to secure a habitat house in 2017, the second owner of a habitat home that was built nearly 20 years ago. It has a reasonable mortgage and she did not think she would need help again but after losing her job, she needed help with one month mortgage and a car payment. “Lower Cape Outreach Council saved me from a difficult situation with so much kindness. It is hard to tell someone you need help. How did I get here, I asked myself? LCOC made it easy, they listened and very graciously offered financial help.”
“I used to work for a non-profit so was aware of LCOC and all the good work they do for people. I had referred people to them. I knew about Katy’s Corner and had considered volunteering for them and maybe I will after I get back on my feet,” and she added, “I am so very appreciative of their unhesitating support.”