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A helpful partnership

Dear editor:

Efforts by our two organizations -- Garland County Habitat for Humanity and Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic -- recently resulted in Ruby Dillard becoming our newest Habitat homeowner. Together, we were able to offer this hardworking, caring woman a hand up, not a hand out. The journey to becoming a homeowner began years earlier after a fire destroyed everything, leaving her family in a desperate situation with no resources to start over.

Although Ruby felt hopeless and overwhelmed, she found her way to CCMC's poverty-reduction Getting Ahead class -- a 16-week class offered to help participants develop practical strategies for a more sustainable future. It was at one class she learned about Habitat's annual information seminar -- the first step in becoming a Habitat homeowner.

Ruby attended it, completed all the requirements, and was approved in a blind selection process by Habitat's board. She and many of her friends put in over 300 hours in sweat equity that are required toward the purchase of the house. She also put in the escrow and will pay an interest free Habitat mortgage for about 20 years.

The poverty reduction programs of CCMC and Habitat's work of providing affordable housing for low-to-moderate income working people dovetails beautifully to help create a more viable future. Both of our organizations meet people where they are. We come alongside those who are ready to write their future stories, now from a place of strength, knowledge, a workable plan, and with supportive relationships.

There are many false assumptions about people who are poor or struggling. Both Habitat and CCMC are working diligently, with the financial support and participation of this community, to raise awareness about the challenges faced by our under-resourced neighbors, offering practical solutions to alleviate the stresses that accompany poverty.

While the data on poverty can be pretty discouraging, it's important to know that collaborations are taking place throughout our area between nonprofits, agencies, and city and county governments. With this in mind, we have two questions: How can the work you do compliment the services or resources of others? How can you collaborate with others to ease suffering, stabilize people who are in a downward spiral, and lift others up? We, CCMC and Habitat, discovered that when we work together, each in our own strengths, following our missions, beautiful things happen and we're all better for it.

Kim Carter,executive director,CCMC

Cindy Wagstaff, executive director, Habitat for Humanity

Happy news

Dear editor:

There has been a lot of crime in Hot Springs lately, and other cities here in Arkansas. The man writing to see "good news" on the front of the newspaper is probably wishing for something to cheer him up over the morning cup of coffee. And who wouldn't? Good news is so hard to come by in our lives today, we live in a society that really wants the latest scoop on violence. Tragedy has become the norm and if you want to know who was visiting whom in the local news, that's probably in the church bulletin. But with attendance at a low or too many different choices these days, it's really hard to get to know the people on a one-to-one basis anymore. Everyone wants a Facebook Friend or a stream of tweets to communicate these days.

As you age, it's the obituaries that become your "look to" page, read the editorials and the political sections for the voting years. And, of course, the local news on what's up with the city directors and where's our tax dollars going. Sales papers on the grocery best buys, everyone's spending is carefully watched with the holidays approaching. And if the rest of the consumers are like me, the news is just getting boring. Long, drawn-out wasteful spending by the government, political debates, sneaky sessions, behind-closed-door meetings and forced taxes on those who can lease afford them. Makes one want to side with the people who don't vote at election times, because what does it matter anyway? Well, I still vote, I still read the news, I still shop and I'm still getting upset over useless waste of my tax dollars.

The best part of my days are spent enjoying the backyard with family, the dogs and cats and the joy of watching the seasons change. It's good "swinging time" with a cup of coffee or glass of ice tea and good folks to share it with. Sometimes you just have to make your own happy news.

L.J. Gibson

Hot Springs

VA assistance

Dear editor:

To anyone who has applied for and been denied disability benefits, especially my fellow veterans, please don't let hiring an attorney be your default position. Attorneys, if candid, will admit that many applications are initially denied. Often applications are denied due to inadequate proof. The SSA and VA are very clear about what further information is required.

What's needed is prompt response to any requests, and providing the information requested. If assistance is needed, there are veteran representatives who can help. Just think about it; attorneys take these cases on a contingency basis. They won't take your case unless they're relatively certain you can win, thereby assuring themselves a hefty chunk of your benefits. Don't be frightened by the barrage of ads offering assistance. Some may need an attorney, many don't.

Beverly Logan

Hot Springs

Editorial on 10/13/2019

Print Headline: Sunday's Letters to the editor

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