Couple has little money but lots of love
Is it possible to live on $800 a month?
Right now, that is what Jennifer Hojda, 49, and her common law husband, David Leithoff, 45, are doing.
They have been together for eight years and have lived in a house in Lost Springs, a mobile home, and now a rundown house in Burdick.
Hojda has mental and physical challenges and is trying to qualify for disability payments. Leithoff is on disability and gets $800 a month, $400 of which goes to a house payment.
The house they bought was vacant and surrounded by 10-foot-tall weeds when they arrived there one year ago.
They are working to make half of the house into living quarters, tearing out plaster and installing insulation.
The wiring in the house is bad, so last spring they asked the utility company to turn off the electricity and remove the meter for safety reasons, Hojda said.
They have a generator that charges two bus-size batteries to run lights and a small refrigerator. They are working on creating a cob rocket stove for heat.
Leithoff has a bad back, so he can work only two hours at a time, Joyda said, so progress is slow.
With all that facing them, the couple manages to keep several dogs. They just acquired seven Moscovy ducks and are hoping to get some goats to use for meat and milk.
Hojda was a Stinchcomb and grew up in Marion. She had a son who committed suicide in 2012 at age 19. Another son, age 29, lives near Russell. He is married and has four daughters.
Hojda is happy living with Leithoff.
“He’s the first person who has never abused me,” she said. “He’s helped me in so many ways. He’s my stability. He takes care of me. If he wasn’t here, I don’t know where I would be. It’s not what we have or don’t have. We have each other. It might be tough, and we might be cold or hungry, but we can sit and talk.”
Last modified Oct. 11, 2018