Far from ordinary and near to our hearts, the late Billye Robertson captivated everyone she met including many of our donors during her final years with us. Since she was 85, the few years HopeLink assisted her and her disabled daughter and granddaughter, serving their needs for housing, transportation, food and hope in the face of a dwindling social security income, each house call was a trip back in time with stories highlighting her days as a famous calendar girl.
She lived to be a month shy of 90 but spent every selfless day caring for her cancer ravaged daughter and mentally disabled granddaughter. Despite bearing such a load, she was never short on stories. A calendar girl in her youth on magazine covers and on posters prized by servicemen at sea, we were introduced mid-summer 2016 when she’d phoned to report a notice to vacate on her door. Like dominoes, her misfortunes fell and multiplied. We stepped in and found her family a new, more affordable apartment, arranged for basic needs and essentials and kept in touch for a few years until her death in April 2021. Though her daughter passed during those years, she is survived by her granddaughter Ashley who is expecting her great-great-great granddaughter in August.
Pictured are HopeLink Director of Housing, Dani Sparks and Outreach Manager, Don Miller, both of whom were her frequent visitors. The painting was painted by HopeLink donor Erika Deutch and Billye’s story was videotaped and broadcast to a crowd of donors and friends at a HopeLink event.
Not a dry eye in the house.
Billye Robertson, August 5, 1930 to April, 2020
A short video message from Billye before she passed.
Diane Parkinson was unemployed two years ago and afraid she might become homeless through the winter. The New York City native and mother of two called HopeLink, which put her life back on track, she said.
HopeLink is a nonprofit in Henderson that works to get residents back on their feet through housing assistance and food pantries. Caseworkers put Parkinson, 43, and her 13-year-old daughter into emergency housing in Henderson and referred her to CareerLink, a subsection of HopeLink that helps with resumes and works with local employers to get clients interviews.
“These ladies are very supportive,” Parkinson said. “I felt bad. I felt like a loser getting out into the work field and not having a solution, but they always give me good information and resources.”
Parkinson said CareerLink helped her clean up her resume, which includes several jobs in the medical field and time at a warehouse printing shop. Parkinson has struggled to keep a job while she navigates her teenage daughter’s struggles with mental health.
“From day one, Diane was motivated to re-enter the job field,” HopeLink wrote in a statement to the Review-Journal. “We met numerous times, and each time made steps closer to employment.”
Now, Parkinson said she would prefer to work remotely and stay at home with her teenager and her adult daughter’s new baby, but she’ll take anything, including retail, fast food or call centers. She’s hoping to save enough money to finish her bachelor’s degree in the next few years and find a permanent career.
In the meantime, Parkinson is applying for Section 8 housing and checks in daily with CareerLink employees for new opportunities and job fairs.
“It’s been great,” she said. “They always check in on me. If they didn’t hear from me, they shoot me an email. I like the fact that they’re intuitive and always making sure that their clients are OK. A lot of people don’t care.”
By Sabrina Schnur Las Vegas Review-Journal
Chronically homeless for years, despite the stereotypes, William had remained an honest, upstanding citizen who’d just lost hope for a better life. But he needed a shower, a place for his laundry and a cool bench to lay his head. He walked into HopeLink’s housing partner, Siegel Suites, overhearing that their employees get a free apartment and utilities as part of their compensation. He cleaned up well and was hired as a porter gathering trash around the facilities. Through the efforts of friends and HopeLink, he was supplied a set of work tools which got him a promotion to onsite repairman inside his first week.
HopeLink case managers delivered new work clothes, shoes and food to meet his needs until his first paycheck arrived. Meanwhile, generous friends of HopeLink donated cash, a refurbished bicycle, additional groceries and much needed laundry soap complete with two rolls of quarters. The generosity spilled over on behalf of William and his growing hope for a future as several complete strangers delivered necessities to his tiny apartment. One HopeLink volunteer even took William to get the last of his belongings from a car which had been impounded weeks before.
As you can see, this story is less about what HopeLink did for William but how William took iniative to help himself. His predicament ignited fires among complete strangers just looking for a way to help a fellow man.
Preventing homelessness always provides hope, which is what William needed and what all his new friends wanted to give.
Cory's story underscores the importance of perseverance and overcoming barriers with the help and hope provided by good friends.
HopeLink cannot do all we do without you.
As a volunteer, donor or community partner, you're enlisted in #TeamHopeLink and our mission to prevent homelessness, preserve families, and provide hope no matter the circumstances.
The stories on this page are but a few among hundreds heard this year alone.
After 30 years serving Southern Nevadans experiencing an unforeseen crisis and helping them to become self-sufficient once again, a little help is often all it takes.
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