For a Houston without Homelessness
Since 1989, SEARCH has been providing hope, creating opportunity, and transforming lives for thousands of men, women, and children who are trying to break free from the cycle of poverty and homelessness. As we work to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring, our ultimate vision is of a Houston without homelessness.
George S. - Housing
George S. had been homeless and living on the streets for three years. During that time, George tried to get housing but was never able to complete the process on his own. Several months ago, George heard about the city’s Coordinated Access system, got assessed for housing, and was assigned to a case manager at SEARCH. Earlier this month, George was elated to move into his very own apartment.
After being homeless for so long, it was an adjustment just sleeping in his own bed. George laughed about the first nights in his apartment. "It wasn't easy getting used to sleeping in my own bed again. I was used to sleeping on the ground and people waking me up all the time. This is new for me!" George is also enjoying something that he hasn't been able to do for a very long time – cooking his own food. "My family taught me how to cook, and I missed so much the food I had growing up. Now, I can make all that again." When speaking about SEARCH, George couldn't hold back the tears. "God is good, and God bless all SEARCH has done for me. They believed in me. Thank you so much."
Emil - Engagement
Last year, SEARCH's Mobile Outreach team met Emil, who had lost his right leg and all of the toes on his left foot several years before. A special bond formed immediately between Emil and SEARCH’s Outreach Specialist, Jess. Since that first encounter, Jess began connecting Emil to various services and resources at SEARCH and throughout the community. One of SEARCH's Disability Specialists helped Emil apply for and obtain Social Security benefits.
Because of Emil's physical limitations, Jess contacted the Houston Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) for help transporting Emil to medical and mental health appointments, shelters, and more. A team full of compassion and determination formed between SEARCH’s Mobile Outreach Team, SEARCH Disability Team, and HPD's HOT Team to help this sweet, caring gentleman named Emil. With the collective efforts of this team, Emil was able to obtain his Texas identification, was connected with much-needed medical treatment and mental health services, and most importantly, Emil was placed in housing and is no longer living on the streets. It truly takes a village.
John L. - Housing
John L. had been homeless for over 26 years. After being incarcerated for drunk driving, he was left with nothing. Upon his release from prison, he took a bus to Houston and found himself homeless and alone. He built an encampment, cared for his eight cats, and collected cans for money. While it wasn't an ideal situation, it was home, and so he refused housing assistance from many agencies. In 2009, his encampment was torn down, and he was left with nothing yet again.
At 69 years of age, John realized that he finally needed some help and was ready to “go inside.” John reached out to the HPD Homeless Outreach Team and was referred to SEARCH. His case managers at SEARCH, in collaboration with our community partners, helped John navigate the complex and often overwhelming process of applying for, obtaining, and moving into permanent housing. In less than a month’s time, John was able to move into an apartment of his own.
John admits that it has been an adjustment to live in a home after so many years of living on the streets. He is finding new ways to stay busy and productive and is grateful that he will never again have to sleep in the rain.
Byron - Housing
When Byron was released from jail after a long, intense history of incarceration, he was homeless. Byron applied for housing through a jail diversion program. Because Byron had no phone, he stayed on the streets near SEARCH so he could be in close touch with his case manager, and he stopped by several times each week to see her. Four months later, Byron moved into his new home.
When Byron's case manager asked him how he had stayed clean and sober, out of trouble, and out of jail while waiting for housing, Byron said, "Ms. Divya, you are working so hard all the time to get me an apartment. You are doing so much for me. I was a nobody; nobody ever called me by my name. I was just some homeless bum off the street whose second home was jail, and no one ever cared for me the way you did. So how can I possibly let you down? You inspired me and motivated me to get where I am today."