Innovative credit program helps a couple in crisis

previous arrow
next arrow



Two years ago, Linda and Linwood West were paying the mortgage on their house in Swanton, Linda had a job as a geriatric nurse, and their main concern was [Linwood’s serious health issues]. Then Linda lost her job and the problems began cascading. The couple could not make their payments. Eventually their lender foreclosed on the house. The foreclosure, in turn, tanked their credit rating.

“I was humiliated,” Linda shared. “We had never missed a payment on anything before. And I was scared out of my skull, having nightmares. I really thought we’d be out on the streets.” “We used to have no problems; we could go buy a car when we wanted,” added Linwood. “Credit changes your life.” That fact was confirmed for the Wests as they began looking for rentals they could afford, and were turned down due to their poor credit. Fortunately they learned that CHT had a solution: ReadySetRent, a program that helps people improve their credit so they can qualify to rent with us.

Once the Wests enrolled in the program and met counselor Donna Constantineau, they regained hope. Donna pulled out the stops to work with their health needs and get them housed. “Linwood was three times sicker than he is now, and he couldn’t make the trip [to CHT’s office],” recalled Linda, so Donna worked with him by phone while meeting Linda in person. And Linwood saw that “After Linda started meeting with Donna, her stress levels went way down. If she got stressed I’d say ‘go call Donna’ and that would fix it. They bonded.”

With Donna’s help, the couple completed the steps needed to qualify with CHT and found a spacious apartment in Alburgh, in a six-unit building that catches the lake breezes. “We love it here. Our house was a hundred years old, with a leaky roof and punky wood floors,” noted Linda. “My husband’s lungs are actually clearer now. And I’ve never seen as much storage in my life as we have in this place; there’s a separate laundry room and even a pots-and-pans drawer that pulls out, which is easy on my arthritis. I’ve been baking like crazy.” The Wests also appreciate their property manager (“he’s a cutie,” said Linda) and maintenance staff, who came right away when they called in a problem. And they enjoy the neighborly little town with its general store next door and bingo right down the street.

Linda and Linwood’s gratitude to Donna and CHT is palpable: “you did a great job,” Linda told Donna. “She’s a friend for life,” Linwood summed up. “We wouldn’t be here without her. CHT are the only ones who help people with this problem.”