A home in time for the holidays...
One of the Case Workers in our Homeless Prevention and Rapid rehousing program shared this story with me today and I wanted to share it with you.
Last week I met with an applicant for our Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP). He is a single parent and has been homeless with his 12 year old daughter for the past six months. After teaching at a nearby high school for four years, he was laid off last spring and was forced to move out of his apartment in Bellflower. Since then he has been staying wherever he can, sleeping in a different place almost every night. In the fall, he started as a substitute teacher at a charter school and has been working consistently all semester. However, it has been difficult at times for him to get to work and get his daughter to school because they don’t have a car.
As we sat in our meeting he shared with me the stress and worry that has been a constant part of his life for the past six months. He said it was difficult for him to explain to his daughter why they had to be moving around so much and why she might have to walk a long way to school on days when they didn’t have enough money to take the bus. He also shared about his passion for educating. He has been a high school teacher and basketball coach for many years and it was easy to see how much he loves what he does. We went over a budget together to figure out what amount of rent would be affordable for him in a normal month. He asked me if I thought he could be moved into a new place before the end of the week so he and his daughter could have their own place for Christmas. I told him that it would depend on whether he could find a place within his price range and getting approved quickly enough. On Monday he called me back. He had found a woman who was renting a room in her house and was willing to let him and his daughter move in as soon as possible.
I went yesterday to see the room and do an inspection on the house. It is in a nice neighborhood in Long Beach and was in great condition. My client was standing in the front yard waiting for me with a big smile on his face and he gave me a hug as soon as I walked up. He was ecstatic about the possibility of having a home for his daughter before Christmas. I spoke with the owner of the house as I was doing the inspection. She was very sweet and said that my client and his daughter would be able to share the living room, dining room, kitchen and refrigerator with her and her two daughters. My client was excited to hear that she has a daughter around the same age as his. After going over the lease agreement, I was able to give the owner of the house a check for the full amount of the deposit and the first month’s rent. As the property owner made copies in the other room I talked with my client. He said that he had just told his daughter a few weeks ago that they wouldn’t be able to have a Christmas this year because he wasn’t sure if they would have a place to stay. He started to cry as he told me how thankful he was for our program and that he would be able to have Christmas with his daughter in their new home. He was excited that the house already had Christmas lights up and a big tree in the living room. As I left yesterday I felt so blessed to be a part of my client’s story. He is a single father, an educator, a coach, and a person of peace and joy. Because of the HPRP program, he is now able to have a place to call home, just in time for the holidays.