Story of the Week 5/26/15

The Path to Housing Is Not Walked Alonejon

by Jon Hoover, Services and Volunteer Coordinator at Morningside Shelter

I work with homeless individuals and families at Morningside Shelter in Brattleboro, and I've had a hard time coming up with a story to share. The road to becoming homeless is a long one and while many individuals who find themselves homeless can point out incorrect decisions they made along the way, one can also see how a person's family, community, and society also contributed to a situation of homelessness. With that in mind, the path to safe, sustainable and stable housing is also one most people do not walk alone. It is usually an intensively collaborative effort. When we have positive outcomes with our clients it is not because of any one person stepping up but because a whole community of people got involved. I'm proud of my contribution to that outcome, but my contribution is just one of many. Recently we helped move a family out of the shelter into a great housing situation. The most praise for this outcome goes, of course, to the parent in this family, without her full engagement we wouldn't have gotten there. But look who else was involved: Her case manager at Morningside. All the rest of the staff and residents at Morningside who made her stay pleasant and effective. Her Reach Up Case Manager. Her Family. The community action agency that helped with funds for first and last months rent, and a deposit. The Vermont Rental Subsidy program and the housing authority that administers it. The state level agencies and legislators that helped design and implement the Vermont Rental Subsidy program. The donors and tax payers who are funding all this. I am happy with the thousand little direct and indirect things I did at Morningside to help get that family leased up, and thankful for all the countless people who also made it happen.

VHCB AmeriCorps is a program of the
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

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