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Tri-State family facing homelessness finds new place to stay

Stephanie Payne and granddaughter Mekyla Smith
Posted at 12:23 AM, Dec 09, 2021

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A Springfield Township family facing the possibility of homelessness now has a safe place to stay.

Stephanie Payne's landlord is planning to sell her house, telling Payne she and her granddaughters must be out this week. Though she had known since April, Payne said she was struggling to find a new place that would accept her housing choice voucher, commonly known as Section 8. Payne stays home to provide 24-hour care to her granddaughter Mekyla, who has cerebral palsy.

"Her name is MeMe, my everything," Payne said. "Mekyla requires a lot — she's got to have room for all of her machines, all of her equipment."

After telling WCPO her story, multiple people and agencies offered to help Payne's family. Payne said her case manager at Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services was able to find her a temporary place for the rest of December, and a new home to move into in January.

"Sounds like a pretty good situation to me — a lot better situation," Payne said. "It feels good to see the love, to see that there's still people out there who care and are willing to help when you're in a bad situation."

Hamilton County DDS said outcomes like this are not always expected, but they are thankful that things were able to line up to make it possible in this case.

"This is one of those situations that we were just glad that we were able to help," said Ryan Braun with Hamilton County DDS. "The timing worked out perfectly for a few things — we had this temporary location that happened to be open right at the right time."

Case managers work with clients and a housing coordinator who can help families, but with so many moving pieces, Braun said, it can be a difficult process.

"It's important to note that housing can be difficult to find for a lot of folks, so we're happy that we were able to help out in this situation," Braun said.

A GoFundMe to help the family with moving costs has raised more than $3,500 and Payne said she is also getting support from "Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati," a cerebral palsy-focused nonprofit.

"It feels great. I feel a whole lot better than I did," Payne said. "Now I've got something to look forward to. I've got a new home to look forward to: we will be together for Christmas."

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