Jessica and Bridget

Community health advocate Jessica Hoskins does whatever she can to help families in need find solutions to the problems they face. For one family, that meant finding a new home where their children could thrive.

Connecting families with helpful community resources is more than Hoskins’ job — it’s her passion. She spends her workdays meeting with and conducting research on behalf of families whose children receive care at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Pediatrics in London. She identifies and directs families to programs and services that can help with housing, transportation and medical care.

In July 2018, Hoskins learned about a student-led homebuilding project by the University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach, a nonprofit service organization.

“I asked the front-desk staff if they knew a family that used our practice, needed a new home and could meet Mountain Outreach’s eligibility criteria,” Hoskins said. “Right away, one of the ladies suggested a family to me, and I got in touch with the mother.”

The mother Hoskins spoke with was part of a family of six that included four children, with a fifth child due in the winter. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom trailer in which they lived was in no condition for a growing family.

“The trailer had mold growing inside, and the roof leaked,” Hoskins said. “It wasn’t fixable.”

Hoskins was determined to help the family obtain a new home.

Perseverance Pays Off

For months, Hoskins helped the family navigate the application process and work through eligibility concerns. She continually followed up with Mountain Outreach about the status of the family’s application through the fall, winter and spring. In March, Hoskins and the family received the news they had been hoping for: The family would receive a house.

Over several weeks during summer break, students and volunteers tore down the trailer and replaced it with a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,200-square-foot house. The family’s children were able to start school this fall with a new home.

“The mother is ecstatic, and so thankful,” Hoskins said. “She told me recently that she can’t wait to buy a Christmas tree to put in the front window. For me, to be part of helping the family get a house and witness it come together step by step was truly amazing.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.