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Local counseling program helps La Crosse family find a home

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) -- Hope and hard work; what one family clung onto to get them from homelessness to homeowners.

La Crosse residents Ken and Alisha Hummel said for years, they and their three young kids went from apartment to apartment and job to job with no luck or hope of a future for their family. The Hummel's said they couldn't seem to escape the wrong people and situations after facing eviction and bouncing between jobs.

"It was rough. It was upsetting," said Ken Hummel. "We worked so hard to get ahead and try and we tried and we tried and working opposite shifts. Our marriage took a toll. It drove a wedge between the two of us. We didn't see each other, on average maybe 10 hours a week."

Alisha Hummel said they had a hard time finding places to rent from because of one wrongful eviction. She said once people see that on paper, they judge a book by its cover and aren't willing to hear the story.

The Hummel's were struggling to stay hopeful, but then they said they were lucky enough to meet Majel Hein.

"I never thought we would get out of the hole we were in," said Alisha Hummel. "That's why I can thank everybody that has routed me to Majel."

Majel Hein is the senior financial literacy advisor at Marine Credit Union Foundation and co-founder of Finding HOME, which Hein says is a free counseling program with guaranteed access to a mortgage that fits each client's spending plan.

"Back in 2018 I was brought on to design and create a program called 'Finding HOME,'" said Hein.

"Home is an acronym actually. HOME stands for hope, opportunity, mastery, and empowerment."

For the Hummel's, who said the 12-18 month long program wasn't an easy feat, it gave them the resources and support they needed to finally find their home. Alisha said she was in tears during the first few sessions because when they met with Majel, they had to truly open themselves up: financially and personally.

"We meet her and we tell her all our bills," said Alisha. "What we have and what we spend. I mean you go through groceries and what you spend on your household stuff. It was just very overwhelming."

But with time and hard work, the program paid off. The Hummel's said they now have money in their savings account, which they had never experienced.

For Ken, he said during their time of being close to homelessness, he was always worried about his wife and the kids' happiness. Now he has nothing but relief after hearing Alisha say the words he's been waiting to hear for a long time.

"I honestly feel secure," said Alisha. "We made great strides to get to where we are and I'm happy to call this home."

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Carly Swisher

Carly Swisher is a Daybreak Anchor/MMJ at WXOW

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