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Jun 13, 2019

The Story of Tammy

After surviving domestic violence and other life-altering events, Tammy found herself experiencing homelessness. For over five years, she had been able to access resources from Salvation Army and a local women's center, while living unsheltered between streets and tents.

It wasn't until Tammy was connected with Volunteers of America (VOA) in Conroe, Texas, that she began to gain back the hope that she had lost. Through VOA, Tammy was able to get connected with The Way Home's Permanent Supportive Housing resources and begin the process of finding a home of her own again.

Tammy has recently moved into her new apartment, filled with new furniture and move-in essentials courtesy of the Welcome Home Fund. "Words cannot express how grateful I am to have a place to heal and start to grow deep roots," said Tammy

Thanks to donations to the Welcome Home Fund we are able to offer stablizazation for Tammy and other clients like her.

Coming next, we have a project that is aiming towards Housing Harvey's Homeless. Local studies reveal that nearly 20% of unsheltered homeless individuals, and 50% of “first-time” homeless individuals, are homeless because of Harvey.Hurricane Harvey not only caused an increase in street homelessness, but also created a homeless population with unique and ever-changing challenges, such as severe behavioral health issues and expanding encampments. The ability to quickly transition these vulnerable individuals off the streets and into housing is crucial to responding to these emerging issues. This project will need the same type of on-going support to help welcome those whose lives were forever changed by Harvey, Home.

Mar 18, 2019

Welcome Home Fund Impact 2018

The Welcome Home Fund is a restricted fund that is managed by the Coalition for the Homeless that supports the work of The Way Home by removing barriers for people moving into permanent housing. The Welcome Home Fund provides Welcome Baskets full of home goods, furniture, and one-time financial assistance for things like deposits that other funding sources may not cover. The Welcome Home Fund would not be an available resource if it was not for our incredible individual donors, private foundation supporters, and community partners leading in-kind donation drives.

As we begin our work in 2019, we first wanted to look back on the accomplishments of the Welcome Home Fund in 2018.

Our Accomplishments In 2018

First and foremost, because of your commitment, we removed barriers for more than 650 individuals and welcomed them home in 2018. Specifically, we:
•provided 430 individuals with crucial funds to assist with the payment of rental applications, deposits, and utility deposits;
•furnished 100 apartments for clients in apartments throughout Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties;
•supplied over 600 Welcome Baskets to partner agencies of the Way Home for their clients moving into permanent housing;
•worked with 15 various faith-based organizations, schools, and businesses to host Welcome Basket in-kind drives; and
•connected groups doing other, non-Welcome Basket in-kind donation drives to partner agencies in need

Before the creation of the Welcome Home Fund, case managers and housing navigators often had to scramble to find “extra” money in their budgets (or even pay out of their own pockets!) for things like home supplies and deposits. In total, more than $275,000 in funding and in-kind goods were collected by the Coalition in 2018 and disbursed to direct service provider partners of The Way Home so their clients could move into permanent housing.

Looking To The Future

We will need over $375,000 in monetary and in-kind support to match the move-in projections for individuals and families leaving homelessness in 2019.

All donations are welcome! In 2019 we will continue our work as the “hub” for direct in-kind community donations to partners of The Way Home. We will also help provide in-kind drive supplies including boxes and flyers to any organizations, clubs, or groups willing to host a Welcome Basket drive. This is a great way for your group of colleagues, students or friends to support the work of the Way Home.

Be sure to follow The Coalition and The Way Home on social media to stay up-to-date on our successes and information on how to take action! We are also planning on kicking off a number of education initiatives and campaigns to help community members learn how to maximize the impact of their donations and generosity, and empower the public to “be the key” to ending homelessness. Stay tuned for more information on these projects!

Lastly, if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the work of the Welcome Home fund we invite you to connect with Renee Cavazos, the Development Coordinator for the Coalition at rcavazos@homelesshouston.org. We’d love to hear your ideas!

Thank you again to everyone who has supported our work – without you, we would not have been able to create warm and welcoming homes for nearly 700 people in 2018. With a 51% reduction in homelessness since 2011, the partners of The Way Home have proven that we accomplish more when we work together toward shared goals. You are a critical part of that success and we are excited to work with you in 2019!

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Dec 18, 2018

Home For The Holidays - Ms. Bobo's Story

Originally from Pennsylvania, Ms. Bobo moved to Texas in 1999, with her mother and siblings. In 2016, after living in Houston for nearly 20 years, Ms. Bobo came home from work one day to a condemned apartment, with no prior notice given. With nowhere else to go, this was the event that triggered her homelessness.

While trying to navigate through the streets for the better part of two years, Ms. Bobo’s main focus was always on her daughters, making sure that they never went without a roof over their heads. “I would not allow for them to be out there with me,” said Ms. Bobo. “I refused to let that happen.”

It wasn’t until Housing Navigators Nye Hicks at SEARCH Homeless Services, Inc., and Tonoa Bond at Career and Recovery Resources, Inc., reached out to Ms. Bobo this April, that a glimmer of hope began to shine through. “I received a list of people experiencing homelessness for me to begin working with in April, and Ms. Bobo was the first person on my list,” said Nye. “I reached to her immediately to let her know she was eligible for housing, and within an hour she was there with me filling out paperwork.” Ms. Bobo also utilized resources through PATH Street Outreach through the Harris Center, The Beacon, and Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston, while experiencing homelessness.

Though the paperwork was quickly completed and Ms. Bobo was more than ready to have a home again, it wasn’t as easy as that. “It was really challenging, we faced a lot of barriers trying to get her an apartment,” said Nye. “From inspections failing to payments not going through, we worked for six months trying to get her into her new home.”

Despite multiple setbacks, including being told more than once she would no longer be able to move in while she was on the way to get her keys, Ms. Bobo remained hopeful. She credits Nye and Tonoa’s determination and compassion as to why she was able to get into permanent supportive housing. “We kept on top of each other,” said Ms. Bobo. “They helped me greatly through the whole process, and I tried to be there anytime I needed to be. It was a very emotional time for all of us, but we always had each other’s backs.”

When Ms. Bobo was able to walk through the door to her new home for the very first time, she says she felt absolutely ecstatic. “It was funny because no one, not even my mom or sister, believed that I finally had a home,” she said, with a smile slowly forming on her face. “I had to physically show them the keys! I even had Nye vouch for me that I did in fact have my own place, and I was ready to start my life again.”

When asked what she wishes people knew about those experiencing homelessness, two things come to mind: “For one, not every person who is homeless is cut from the same cloth, we all go through our own tragedies,” says Ms. Bobo. “And two, we are humans just like everyone else and being homeless does not change that; we’re just trying to find a place of our own.”

For now, she is focused is on getting back into a normal routine and spending much needed time with her two daughters. And even though they may not be the biggest fans of keeping their rooms clean, she says she sure enjoys being able to be under the same roof as them again. Her future aspirations include going back to school to get her degree, and eventually becoming a veterinarian technician.

Thanks to partners of the Way Home and Supporters like you, we were able to Welcome Ms.Bobo home. Thank you all for your support and Happy Holidays!

 
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