This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
In 2010, Charlotte Crist and her two girls and four boys, ages 7 to 19, moved to Colorado Springs, initially staying with Crist's mother.
Crist got a job but faced a four-year waiting list for a government housing voucher.
Then she heard about Partners in Housing, a nonprofit agency that offers transitional housing and helps homeless families and individuals become self-sufficient, providing case management and budget tips, among other services.
Crist applied for housing in September 2011 and was accepted by December of that year.
Every month, she meets with a payment assessor to calculate her portion of rent, which is based on her income.
"I don't have $1,200 a month to spend trying to get a roof over my kids' heads," Crist said. Five of her six children live at home.
Her husband is serving 5 to 15 years in prison for the "unthinkable" against a girl, she said. He gave up custody, and there is no child support.
Partners in Housing helped her get a voucher to stay in her house for two more years. Now she's able to budget her rent, working nights as a King Soopers baker.
She also takes advantage of monthly Partners in Housing classes on subjects such as how to establish credit and career advice for her teenagers. She particularly enjoyed a 13-week series based on curriculum by Dave Ramsey on managing a budget, credit and debt.
"I learned how to manage my money and get ahead," she said, crediting Partners in Housing for helping her get on her feet and "get started again."
The agency wrote a letter to an area church on her behalf that resulted in Crist getting a used car.
Last year during the holidays, when money was tight for her, Partners in Housing provided her Wal-Mart gift cards to give to her children for Christmas.
The agency also helped with counseling for her kids.
"They have helped me so much," she said.
HOW TO DONATE
Make a secure donation at www. fillanempty stocking.org. Call 476-1673 to make a credit card or stock donation. Make check payable to the Empty Stocking Fund and mail to P.O. Box 910942, Denver, CO 80291-0942. Like us on Facebook at EmptyStockingFund or follow us on Twitter @esfsprings.