Felicia and Talivo Salley are one of those married couples that can’t stop smiling when telling someone the story of what brought them together–even a decade later. There are laughs, some corrections on dates and a few disagreed upon locations and times, but the proud parents of four remain steadfast in the belief that they were meant to be a family. Where the smiles begin to falter is when both begin to recollect the role housing has played in their lives. Talivo struggled with homelessness and addiction as a young adult in New Jersey and both recount a series of increasingly worse rental properties in Syracuse.
“We didn’t have access to it, but something must have died in the basement of one property and we came home to flies and maggots everywhere. We left, but found ourselves in one bad place after another,” says Felicia Salley.
Dangerous apartments with code violations, unsafe neighborhoods where the couple didn’t let the kids out of the house for an entire summer to unscrupulous landlords who refused to make repairs or worse, would threaten eviction should the couple complain. At their lowest point and after already moving four times, the landlord started eviction proceedings and worked to keep the family from finding somewhere else to live with bad references.
“A guardian angel from our kids’ literacy program told us about Home HeadQuarters. We walked in not knowing what to expect and Mary Jo (HHQ & CNY Affordable Housing) grabbed my hand and said, ‘we can work with you,'” recounts Felicia.
The family moved into a HHQ apartment to get stabilized and both Felicia and Talivo enrolled in the HomeBuyer Education Course and financial counseling. Felicia improved her credit score by more than 100 points and Talivo worked two jobs to save as much as possible. Less than a year after first coming to HHQ, the Salley family qualified for a fully-rehabbed, four bedroom home on the city’s Southside.
“The first night in our house, with no furniture and everything in boxes, the whole family pulled our mattresses together and slept in the living room. It was like a big sleepover party. We were together, in our own home. This is a dream that I never knew I had, until we got it.”
A note from Home Headquarters
We’d like to make the Holidays even brighter for the Salley Family by filling in some of the gaps. If you can, please considering donating to our Salley Holiday delivery. We hope to replace the family’s sofa and dining room set before the end of the year! Please click on the link below and make sure you add “Salley Family” in the donation description. Thank you!
Or use this link to donate if you can’t get through using the above.
Above information provided by Home Headquarters, Syracuse – Newsletter