It’s not hard for Mike Lindsay to pinpoint the lowest moment in his life. Although he’s still relatively young, he’s already faced more hardship than most people.
Ten years ago, he was happily married to his wonderful wife, Vanessa. They had two young boys and a beautiful home in Orange County, California.
Then Vanessa was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The next few years were a blur of bad news and worse news. Through doctor’s appointments, treatments, and difficult conversations, Mike tried to support and protect his family.
When the illness took Vanessa’s life, all Mike could do was try to stay strong for his kids while coping with his incomparable grief.
Yet even the grief was not the end of Mike’s troubles. During the pain and stress of this difficult time, he also lost his job, which meant that suddenly the family had no income.
With medical bills piling up and lenders unwilling to extend any credit to Mike, it felt that fate had dealt him an unwinnable hand. Friends and family offered help, but still it appeared that the family would lose their home – with no guarantee of being able to find other housing.
That was unacceptable to Mike, especially since his two children adored their school and didn’t want to be separated from classmates.
In fact, school had been one of the only constants in the boys’ lives throughout this trying time – a safe haven and network of support outside the family – and Mike knew how important it was to keep them there.
He just needed to find a way to do so.
Climbing Back from the Depths of Despair
When listening to Mike’s story, it’s almost impossible to imagine how he had the strength to persevere through it all. Yet somehow, he was able to keep moving forward and taking the steps necessary to protect and provide for his family.
Finally, in his words, fate gave him a break. He received a piece of mail from Unison telling him that he was pre-qualified for a home ownership investment.
What that meant was that Unison would be able to invest alongside him in the home, giving him a chunk of cash in exchange for a share of any future change in the home’s value.
The offer almost sounded too good to be true.
Mike researched the program and made sure he understood it fully before deciding to move forward with it. He said that throughout the process, Unison’s staff were professional and informative.
Once it became clear that this option would allow him to keep the house and unlock enough of his home equity to pay off all his bills – not to mention giving the family a financial cushion – he realized it was exactly what they needed.
Making a Plan and Finding Hope Again
Mike partnered with Unison and used the cash from Unison’s investment to get his finances in order and pay off the family’s entire medical debt. There would be no more unpaid bills and no more annoying calls from creditors.
More importantly, his boys could finally know that they would never be separated from the school, friends, and house that they loved so much.
Their home would remain their home.
After ensuring this part of his life was back on firm footing, Mike had more time and peace of mind, which allowed him to fully process everything that had happened and progress through the various stages of grief.
With stress levels reduced, his body and mind could begin to heal.
Having greater peace of mind also allowed him to return his attention to getting a new job so he could resume his career and attempt to go back to a “normal” life.
Fortunately, after a bit of searching, he was offered a very good job which has allowed him to once again start earning an income and to rebuild his life one step at a time. He’s thrilled to be back working and to once again have hope for the future.
Everyone here at Unison is inspired and motivated by Mike’s courage and optimism in the face of great tragedy. While our part in his story is a small one, we are honored to be part of it and are grateful that Mike and his boys are doing well – and that they were willing to share their story with others.
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