About this series
This holiday season, The Times will profile residents who have put their lives on track with help from local agencies.
Good News Clinics
What: Agency providing health care to uninsured Hall County residents who cannot afford to pay for services.
Where: 810 Pine St., Gainesville
More info: 770-503-1369 or goodnewsclinics.org
David and Tracey Lynn Roberts were living through some dark times, but they were in the right place at the right time when she needed — and got — medical attention.
If it hadn’t been for Good News Clinics in Gainesville, “she might have died,” David said, looking at his wife on the porch of their Flowery Branch home.
The experience also helped to launch the couple to better times.
“We’ve been through hell and high water,” Tracey said. “Right now, we’re on the path to where we want to be.”
Their story goes back further in time, but it has a turning point in September 2012, when “my husband and I were having a very hard time,” Tracey said. “We had spent one night in our truck homeless.”
Avita Community Partners, which had been helping her with addiction and mental health issues, referred the couple to Good News at Noon, a Gainesville homeless ministry separate from the clinics.
From there, they wound up at Good News Clinics, where she got teeth pulled, a gallbladder operation and a liver biopsy and was diagnosed with some female problems.
“I’m fortunate to have been blessed by the counselors at Avita who told me about Good News,” Tracey said.
The Robertses’ journey up to that point had been marked with tough ordeals, triggered in large part by the 2007-09 recession.
Like so many other Americans, the couple had been doing fine in the years leading to the nation’s economic collapse.
“I went to Florida in 2001 chasing the almighty dollar,” said David, who has been in the cabinet industry all his life.
The couple met in 2006 and got married in 2008.
“It wasn’t long after that I got laid off,” David said.
Other economic troubles followed, and eventually “we lost our house, business, everything,” Tracey said.
The couple moved to North Georgia in 2010, but life was slow to improve. They buoyed along on unemployment checks.
“We were caught in this gap, where we could not get any assistance, because $1,200 a month in unemployment is too much to get food stamps,” David said. “You can’t rent a place on unemployment.”
But they did qualify for Good News Clinics services in January 2013.
Good News, which is at 810 Pine St., provides health care to uninsured Hall County residents who cannot afford to pay for services.
“That’s why we’re there — to help somebody who, for whatever reason, doesn’t have money to pay for medical care,” said Cheryl Christian, executive director.
“Once you get somebody to feeling better, they can go on with their life. They can get a job, get into schooling. Tracey is an example of someone who just needed that assistance we could provide.”
Their housing was in flux for a while, but now they are living in a home near downtown Flowery Branch.
Working at Lowe’s Home Improvement, David has a steady paycheck, and Tracey is training to become a certified peer support specialist. In the meantime, she volunteers at the Peer Support, Wellness and Respite Center in Cleveland.
“Up to 2010, we helped other people,” David said. “Since 2010, people have been helping us. And now, we’re in a position to pay it forward again. Life’s all about helping your brother and sister.”
“It’s about humanity,” Tracey said.