PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. –Sunday was the day Carolyn Ballinger has been praying about for months. That’s when she started moving into her new apartment with her family.
“I called 100 places in Pinellas County,” she said. “Over 100 places.”
We first met her and her family back in February when they were packing up to move out of the $1,500 a month apartment in Largo because the rent was about to spike. As a minister, Ballinger turned to our own congregation for help.
“Didn’t have anywhere to go. We moved in with my friend and we were there over six weeks and it was an experience,” she said. She also experienced the overwhelming challenge of finding an affordable place to move into. With so many people searching for the few affordable places available, Ballinger admits, it tested her faith like nothing else before.
“I’ll tell you what, there was a time, there was a moment, when I said ‘God don’t let me lose my faith. I need a miracle right now’ and no lie, five minutes later a phone call came through. She (the property manager) said the owners said they’re willing to work with you and I went, ‘Yes!’” She says that miracle she’s moving into this weekend is not only a better home than her last apartment, but she’s also getting more for practically the same money.
“Here we’re paying $1,600. Water, sewer, trash, cable and internet are all included.”
Ballinger says she recognizes that while her housing horror story now has a happy ending, that there are far too many others out there still working, still waiting and still hoping to find an affordable place to call home.
She offers this advice.
“Don’t give up. Don’t give up because there’s someone out there to work with you. Keep looking. I don’t care – that 101th place you know, that just might be the golden one.”