Last year, we learned about a single mother of three who sought help at Holy Family Shelter, a longstanding Foundation grantee serving families experiencing homelessness. The focus at Holy Family is on those deemed "invisible," the unhoused individuals and families that go unseen and unheard in our daily routine. Unlike those easily noticed on street corners and intersections, asking for change or a hot meal, the majority who experience homelessness in our communities choose to stay off the streets for fear of ramifications. Parents fear losing their children to protective services, arrest, and shame. Many live in their cars or move from floor to floor until they run out of options. For homelessness does not happen when runs out of money, but when one runs out of relationships. It's these stories that keep our passion from burning out, knowing that we are working to support organizations who serve our most vulnerable neighbors- the ones who fall between the cracks when resources run thin.
These stories like Janice’s, a single mother of three children, that help to open our eyes to the broad spectrum of reasons that cause homelessness and the barriers that exacerbate it. Janice was running from a violent situation at home with nowhere to go. Victims of domestic violence are often isolated from their family and friends as a means of control. Abusers will control finances, credit, and transportation. So when a victim finally finds the strength to live, too often they are left with no means of support. Because of this, Janice sought help at Holy Family Shelter, and within hours staff had her and her children safe in a hotel (shelters are often full and seek other housing solutions for their clients). They brought food, clothing, personal care items, pots, pans, and utensils for the kitchenette in the hotel, as well as asthma medicine for her middle child.
The following morning, she met with a case manager who began an assessment in six core areas: health, housing, income, children's needs, legal, and education. The case manager assisted Janice in identifying her needs and setting goals. Janice was already employed, so her main goals were to seek counseling services in order to address her past trauma and to obtain safe and affordable housing. Janice's case manager coordinated these counseling services which provided Janice with helpful techniques to address her oldest son's behavioral issues, as well as a Trauma Support Group in which she participated regularly. Janice was eventually accepted into a rapid rehousing program, where she was able to move into her own apartment with her children.
Because of the transitional housing services supported by REALTOR® Foundation grants, Janice was able to begin counseling services, improve her parenting skills, obtain childcare, increase her employment hours and income, form a budget that she was able to stick to, and obtain her own housing. Janice was able to successfully provide a stable environment for herself and her three children. She showed significant growth throughout her services at Holy Family Shelter and was able to provide the life for her children that she had always dreamed of giving them.
We at the REALTOR® Foundation believe everyone deserves a safe home. We would love for you to get involved with our mission to make that a reality for everyone in our community. Donate your time, your money, your resources- anything you can give supports our cause to link hope to homelessness.