Aug 29, 2014

housing support service mpls lady standing by car smiling

Posted on Aug 29, 2014


As soon as I walked through the door into the plant, I felt like I was home,” said Nancy Ellefson, referring to Cambridge Metal & Plastic in Cambridge. “This job was like a miracle for me. I had done foundry work for eight years before, so I felt comfortable that I could do the job.”

Having a great job that she enjoys and is good at is a key piece in Nancy’s quest for getting her life back on track and moving forward to build a happy life for her and her kids.

Having spent 22 years addicted to drugs and five attempts at treatment, Nancy said she finally found what she needed to get and stay clean at the Tapestry – Meridian Behavioral Health program in St. Paul. She then lived for four months in Serenity Haven, a half-way house in Mora, and was referred by Kanabec County Social Services to Rise’s Mental Health and Housing Supports program in Cambridge to begin planning her move back into the community.

Monica Zachau, a Rise housing support specialist helped Nancy qualify for a $200 monthly subsidy so she could set up an apartment for her two children. On the first of September, Nancy was excited to move her family to a house she is renting out in the country. Monica is helping her find furniture and household items as Nancy had lost most everything she needed to make a home.

A placement specialist with Rise’s Employment Innovations program in Mora helped Nancy find a part-time job at a local pizza restaurant which eased her back into employment. But after a few months, she was ready to move on to something that would enable her to be more self-sufficient. Jose Clemente from Rise’s Lindstrom office worked with Nancy to develop a customized career plan and find just the right job to match her skills, interests, and income needs.

“I guess I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Nancy said candidly. “I always knew I was on the wrong path, but addiction was all I had known since childhood, and I really didn’t have anyone to help me break that cycle. Once I found the right resources for me, and decided to be open and honest with everyone who was trying to help me, I made real progress.”

Nancy said the best part is the good people she works with as well as the wide range of job tasks she is learning. Cambridge Metals & Plastics, Inc. manufactures parts and accessories for sports vehicles. It offers custom metal stamping, sheet metal fabrication, welding, painting, tube bending, product design, and engineering services.

“Jose has been a tremendous help to me – he’s straight with me and keeps pushing me; he’s a good listener and I sure listen to him.”

“I’m so proud of Nancy and happy for how things are changing for her,” said Jose, who continues to meet with her on a regular basis to help ensure her success on the job. “I only want the best for her and she’s making great progress.”

“Nancy is a true trooper,” said Monica. “I have never met someone who has worked so hard to reestablish a good life so her children can thrive and have the life she never had. She has been an inspiration to me.”

Nancy is among those featured in a special video that will debut at the Celebrate Rise Fundraising Gala on October 2. She plans to apply for support from Rise’s new Advancing Lives Fund to help her purchase additional household items or a new used car through Pine Technical College.

This article appears in the September 2014 issue of the Rise Reporter.

Posted in