“Housing First” – Why it Matters

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If we could sum up our mission in one photo (see below), this would be a top contender! Chris, a single dad, was referred to us by one of our community partners. He and his three young children were living back and forth between motel rooms and their car.

Too good to be true?

Even when he was told he could move his family into one of our Short-term Family Apartments, Chris was still cautious — worried that at any moment he might be asked to leave. Instead, he began working with his Mentor Advocate, Wilhemina, and they immediately started the process of searching for affordable housing.

“Chris was very down,” says Wilhemina. “He had no home, his employer wasn’t giving him any hours, and he was driving a rental car because of a recent accident. But even with these struggles, he was still doing everything a father can do to hold his family together and find a place to live. Through all of this, he made sure the children stayed in school and daycare.”

Fortunately, it was only a month until Chris and Wilhemina found and secured an affordable, income-based apartment for the family. But again, there was that doubt. “It was like Chris couldn’t believe that the most important thing for him, providing a home for his children, was actually happening,” describes Wilhemina. “Honestly, it wasn’t until we were sitting at the lease signing that he began to believe that this was real. I could see the sadness start to lift.”

That’s when the smile came (and continued with this picture of Chris holding his apartment keys), and Chris could breathe again.

Is everything perfect for this family now?

No, it’s not. There are still issues regarding transportation and employment for Chris. That’s where working with his Mentor Advocate for another year will come into play. But the most pressing need for this family — HAVING A HOME — has been met. The reality is, parents and children cannot move forward until they have a place to live. As you can see in this picture, “Housing First” makes a tremendous difference!

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