Mercades Ellington

Mercades Ellington (24 years old) and her partner Toni Diaz were referred to our new Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP) program based in the Cape Fear region of North Carolina in April 2023. Together, they have been raising Mercades’ two children. But taking care of a family can be a huge challenge without a place to call home. 

Mercades and Toni both live on limited incomes and have had many housing applications rejected in the past due to their poor credit scores. Maintaining stable employment that offers Mercades the flexibility needed to be home with her young son has also been a challenge. 

Thanks to supporters of our HOP program like you, Mercades was connected with one of our case managers to get her and her family approved for housing assistance. By July, our dedicated staff were able to help Mercades identify and get approved for a comfortable three-bedroom trailer home in Elizabethtown, NC. The HOP program also provided Mercades financial assistance to set her and her family up for success in their new home. 

“The Healthy Opportunities Program has been a blessing. It paid for our first month’s rent, security deposit, and utilities. We also got $1,150 to help buy new furniture. We were very pleased with how quickly our case manager worked to get us situated. Thank you, Volunteers of America, for making it easy to move forward.”

-Mercades Ellington

Established by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HOP is the nation’s first comprehensive program to help vulnerable Medicaid enrollees in North Carolina have better health outcomes by addressing needs related to housing, food, transportation, domestic violence and toxic stress. As a HOP partner, annually we provide housing services to 250 families like Mercades’ who are at risk of homelessness in Pender, Columbus, and Bladen counties. 

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