Late last summer, Donna* and her partner separated suddenly. She had little money to her name and no place to go. A Housing Forward case manager happened to be at the motel where she was staying, and that began the path to Ohana House, our new interim housing site that responds to the unique need for large families with minor children. Donna and her twins were the first to move in.
Today, the 1st-grade girls are in school virtually at their bridge unit at Ohana House where they really love their shared bunk bed. Donna is focusing on increasing her employment from part-time to full-time while she works with her housing case manager on taking steps toward permanent housing for her family. After being homeless for nearly a decade, this is the first year in a long time that Donna can make a homemade holiday dinner and she is very excited!
People experiencing homelessness are truly among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Since this crisis began, our goal has been to ensure those in our care receive the services they need, while safeguarding their health and well-being. We pivoted quickly to reach this goal and are now looking at this moment as an opportunity.
In these extraordinary times, ending homelessness means addressing it at all levels – preventing homelessness whenever possible, responding to the crisis, and stabilizing with housing. Donna's story includes all three levels. Her positive outcome will only be possible through a committed community, strategic partnerships, and dedicated donors, aligned to make homelessness rare, quickly detected, and rapidly resolved.
We are happy Donna and her girls, pictured here being welcomed by Ohana House Program Manager Holly Rodman-Zaid, have a place to call home while they work on becoming financially and emotionally ready for an independent apartment of their own.
*Not client's actual name.
I don't know what I would have done without Housing Forward.