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Ronald Prigmore, a 26-year-old Chattanooga native, avoided homelessness this year because of aid from the Neediest Cases Fund. / Photo contributed by Ronald Prigmore

Living in a moldy apartment with no functioning heat, ventilation or air conditioning, Ronald Prigmore knew he had to get out of his lease and move to a safe home.

But the 26-year-old Chattanooga native had just started a new job at Serenity Child Care Center and hadn't yet received his first check, leaving him unable to afford a deposit on a new apartment. His landlord gave him a Sept. 30 deadline to move out after refusing to remedy the dangerous state of his apartment, he said.

But then in stepped the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, which, through the help of the Neediest Cases Fund administered by United Way of Greater Chattanooga, saved him from potentially being forced out onto the streets.

"It helped me out and it made me feel — I was shocked," Prigmore said.

(READ MORE: Fate can change a life in an instant, and the Neediest Cases Fund helps those with nowhere else to turn)

With the $725 provided by the fund, Prigmore was able to make a deposit on a new apartment in the Highland Park area and get out of his lease without any penalties — giving him a new, safe home for the holiday season.

He moved into his new apartment Oct. 1, one day after the deadline given by his landlord.

Prigmore said he previously had no luck getting aid because he has no children. But then the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition referred him to Partnership for Families, Children and Adults.

"I was glad Hannah [Prigmore's caseworker] was able to pull some strings," he said. "She went above and beyond."

(READ MORE: Neediest Cases appeal raises nearly $80,000 for Chattanooga area residents in 2020)

Started in 1914 by former Chattanooga Times Publisher Adolph Ochs, the Neediest Cases Fund provides one-time assistance to individuals such as Prigmore who face unforeseen circumstances.

Funded by donations from Times Free Press readers, the Neediest Cases Fund is managed by the United Way of Greater Chattanooga and distributed to people in need who are referred by partner agencies.

(READ MORE: Medical emergency leaves Rhea County family struggling to get by)

Other Ways to Donate

Send the following information and a check to United Way of Greater Chattanooga. Please note that the donation is for Neediest Cases and mail to United Way, 630 Market St., Chattanooga, TN 37402.

Enclosed is a donation for $

Name:

Address:

City:

State/Zip:

Donor Acknowledgement options:

In honor of:

In memory of:

All donations will be acknowledged by mail and in the newspaper. Please state if you do not want us to publish a name in the list of contributors. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 31.

Recipients are required to be employed to receive assistance from the fund, which fulfills basic needs such as housing, utilities and food to those who need one-time help to become self-sufficient.

"It's normally people who are working from paycheck to paycheck," said Carmen Hutson, director of stability and community programming for United Way of Greater Chattanooga. "Any major emergency can really spiral them into a situation they can't get out of. The Neediest Cases Fund really helps them to maintain that stability."

It's been nearly two months since Prigmore received the aid needed to secure housing in time for the holiday season, and he said he couldn't be more thankful for the help.

"I'm great," Prigmore said. "I'm just doing really great."

To donate to the Neediest Cases Fund, visit timesfreepress.com/neediest-cases.

From July 1 of 2020 to June 30 of this year, $113,000 was raised for the fund, according to the United Way of Greater Chattanooga website.

Contact Logan Hullinger at lhullinger@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.

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