Your support Gives men, Women, and Families Experiencing Homeless
an Attainable Path to Housing.
I wish I could tell you that when our clients find a home, they leave their problems behind and ride off into the sunset. The truth is that many of the people we serve continue to have a tough time after they move out. Trauma, addiction, or disabilities may weigh heavily on them. Sometimes, a person loses their home and returns to us. What then?
It starts with a conversation. We ask, “What happened, and how can we help you be the best version of yourself so that this doesn’t happen again?” We know that working with our clients, rather than around them, gives them the best chance for success. These conversations often lead to a new approach, as in the case of Kevin, whose story is below.
Kevin has struggled with addiction for much of his life. In the Mission’s structured environment, he sobered up, then found housing through his new employer. Kevin worked for his rent, but had little other income to support himself. When Kevin relapsed and lost his job, his housing was gone in an instant.
Kevin returned to the Mission, and we connected him with our peer support group. He shared his anxiety about having his home tied to his job, so we decided to try a more traditional route. Kevin sobered up again, found a new job, and started making his own, unsubsidized rent payments for the first time. Once he proved to himself that he could manage his money, we saw Kevin’s confidence grow. He knew that he just had to make that payment at the end of the month and his days of homelessness were over.
Kevin is still housed and employed today. He is managing his addiction and seems much less stressed.
We talk about empowerment a lot, and clients who return to us often need a healthy dose of it.
“A lot of times, [returning clients] feel defeated,” says Bobbie, our lead social worker. “And so we talk about the future. We don’t focus on the past so much as far as ‘What did you do wrong?’ We say, ‘It happened, so what do we do now?’ We give them new options, and that kind of brings them up a little bit.”
Accountability is there too. Clients know that we expect them to put in the work to succeed. They also know they won’t be abandoned if they make a mistake. That can be the difference in keeping a person motivated to make good choices.
Of course, we’d rather prevent a loss of housing. That’s why we work hard to set clients up for success before they leave.
“Typically when a client comes in, we know that it’s going to take a little while for them to get housed,” says Bobbie. “During that waiting time, we connect them with [resources they need], so that when they are housed, they have that all-encompassing group of people to help. When clients are housed, it’s few and far between when they come back.”
Thanks to support from people like you, we are taking this even further with a client-led support group. Soon, clients who are housed will begin to meet with people who are about to be housed. Those who have had success can share how they overcame challenges they had when moving out. Case managers will help clients learn about budgeting, cooking basics, and more. We are hoping to establish a permanent schedule and location for this group within the next two months.
Dominic appeared ready for his own home. He had a job, and he assured us he’d been sober for years. After numerous incidents at his apartment, however, Dominic was right back at the Mission. He felt ashamed and defeated, but we approached him without judgement and assured him that success was still possible.
Dominic began to open up about his mental health issues and admitted he had lied about his drug use. Dominic has developmental disabilities, and he has trouble setting boundaries and standing up for himself.
“We realized after [Dominic] came back that he was very vulnerable,” says Bobbie. “He was taken advantage of while he had his apartment because he would tell everybody where he lived, and people would show up and stay there.”
It became apparent that assisted living, rather than independent living, was the right option for Dominic. He is currently receiving addiction treatment, and we are ready with new supportive housing options for him.
Alec hasn’t been housed for nearly a decade. Though he’s stayed at the Mission numerous times over the past six years, he has never made an effort to find his own home. That changed earlier this year.
“We know [Alec] well,” says Bobbie. “He’s more like a...free spirit. He kind of roams around the country, which is his choice. But this time he says, ‘I want to work on housing.’”
Alec’s decision was unexpected, but we were prepared and the process moved quickly. Alec filled out housing applications, applied for rent help, and is now waiting for approval.
“I have a feeling that once he gets closer to [actually being housed], he’s going to get scared,” says Bobbie. “So we’re getting him connected and involved in the community a little bit. We’re also offering him resources for his mental health. I do think this will work out for him.”
Sometimes one shot is all it takes. Sometimes it takes more. As a Mission donor, I want you to know that the support you provide doesn’t “run out” for our clients. We’re here to deliver resources, encouragement, and accountability 365 days a year, despite any slip-ups. For people like Dominic, Kevin, and others, a second chance might just save their life.
All of this starts with you. Thank you so much for your generosity, your faith, and your empathy for those we serve.
“Ask and it will be given to you; see and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
- Matthew 7:7
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Your donation creates a safe, empowering environment for our clients. Thank you for making real change possible.