Richards Family: Learning to Reach for More

There is a way back from rock bottom, and Becky Richards had the opportunity to find it with the help of affordable housing.

“I was addicted to drugs; I was homeless, and life wasn’t good,” she said.

In 2007, Becky began making an effort to get clean, and her mother and friends supported her by allowing her to stay with them temporarily. While she was working on beating her addiction, Becky had her fifth child, Kaylee.

“I got clean; it was either that or the state would have taken my daughter from me and I couldn’t bear that,” she said. “My other children were living with their dad and I needed to have them back in my life.”

It was during this time that Becky learned about Families in Transition (FIT) through a family friend, and she applied for housing. FIT serves individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and provides residents of its affordable housing with comprehensive social services. New Hampshire Housing helped fund FIT’s Family Willows development with an allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

“It’s so hard once you’re down to get [back] on your feet,” said Becky. “It’s amazing the extra mile FIT has gone. I really owe them my life.”

Once Becky moved into Family Willows, she began participating in an intensive outpatient program and relapse prevention groups provided by FIT to help her stay clean. She still attends meetings twice a week.

“It’s not just housing, it’s a program,” she said. “They don’t give up.”

Becky is currently on disability, but she is attending school and working toward a degree in psychology. She hopes to one day work for FIT or to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor and help people struggling with addiction.

“This housing has literally shaped my future and helped make it a brighter place,” said Becky. “I used to dread the future because I didn’t know where I’d be living, or if I’d have a place for my kids to go, or if I’d even have a roof over my head, or a place to just be warm.”

Becky has nothing but positive things to say about the opportunity she’s been given.

“They’ve [FIT] made me learn to reach for more, to want more and not to settle,” said Becky. “I was always codependent on someone else, and now I’m independent. That’s huge for me, being 34 and being independent for the first time in my life. It’s an amazing feeling and it’s empowering.”

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