For a Houston Without Homelessness

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Success Stories

Every morning, clients begin to line up two hours before SEARCH opens its doors at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast is served in a bright clean room where the tables are covered with green tablecloths and seat four people. The look, deliberately, is more country café than the usual institutional setting. The arrangement is less crowded and designed to foster dignity and self-worth.

Clients often arrive weary from their night on the streets, where discomfort, anxiety and vigilance make rest difficult, if not impossible. Many are scared at night. Things get stolen- anything of value. They are targets, so they stay awake.

They are grateful, physically and spiritually, for this safe haven where they are treated with dignity.

SEARCH is their “home” away from living homeless.

Click here to meet some of our clients and hear their stories.

Cecilia Williams

cecelia williams“I’m a survivor, I’m not going to give up.  I’m a survivor, I’ll keep on surviving.”

The message and lyrics to Cecelia William’s favorite song have mirrored her own path since moving to Houston a year ago.  Originally from Chicago, Williams moved to Houston in 2014.  With a new job and a new apartment, everything seemed to be going well.  After an unexpected illness prevented Cecelia from working, she depleted her savings just trying to keep a roof over her head and food on the table.  After losing her apartment and a short stay with a family member, Williams found herself on the streets of Houston with few options.

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Vicki and James

Vicki and James“There were days we just wanted to wake up from this bad dream. But the kids kept us inspired to keep going. When the days were the worst, we’d pause, watch them and keep smiling and laughing. They gave us strength. They still do.” With determination and grace, Vickie and James continue to overcome challenges.

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Margaret Carmona

Photo of Margaret CarmonaFor 15 years, Margaret Carmona has been making kids smile at SEARCH’s House of Tiny Treasures (HTT). As the co-lead teacher in the pre-k class, she has seen firsthand the impact that SEARCH and HTT make in people’s lives.

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John Montgomery

John Montgomery - Success Story photoJohn was born on May 29, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods, John witnessed more violence than most people can imagine. He had a father who was physically abusive and absent. In 1973, John’s twin brother died and life would never be the same.
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Mary James

Mary James - Success Story photo“I never imagined that I could become homeless.” Mary James has a lot to be proud of! She recently received her Community Health Worker Certificate from Houston Community College.
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Jessica Pool

Jessica Pool - Friend of SEARCH photoTransferred from Johannesburg, South Africa to Houston, Texas, Jessica Pool volunteers at SEARCH in the Resource Center and Development Department.
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Deidre Young

Deidre Young Success StoryMarch is National Women’s History Month! Join us as we celebrate the history of American women in our March newsletter and recognize our client Deidre Young!

Deidre was born in Albany, GA in 1973. At age two, she moved to Houston with her mother and sister. Her mother then married a man who, unfortunately, was physically abusive. Eventually, she gave up and quit school in 9th grade.
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Crystal Hailey

Crystal Hailey Success Story“I had to pull myself out of the darkness for my daughters. It means everything to me now!”

Born in 1979 in the town of Dayton, Texas, Crystal Hailey has had a rough road to travel. When she was 12 years old, her father passed away and she was forced to live with her grandparents. Unfortunately, her grandparents were less than supportive. Her grandfather was emotionally abusive which led to her acting out at an early age.
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SEARCH’s Outreach Team Brings Hope This Holiday!

Jess DiManno and James Gonzalez SEARCH Outreach TeamWhether they are on their bikes or in our green van, Jess DiManno and James Gonzalez, meet our clients throughout Houston, from the suburbs to the city. Outreach is the most important step to encouraging clients to come to the Fannin building for critical, initial support. We talk with men and women, face to face, hear their needs and help them take the very first steps from moving off the streets to a more safe place.
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The Johnson Family

The Johnson FamilyWhen both mom and dad in the Johnson family became unemployed within a few months of each other, they found themselves on the street with their three adorable daughters. They did not want their family to fall apart. Coming into contact with the SEARCH homeless program was the turning point along their difficult journey to stability and employment.
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James Black

James BlackSo often, our loyal veterans come back to the States and have a difficult time readjusting to civilian life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and addiction are a few of the challenges these men and women face. Often, these barriers lead to homelessness.SEARCH is here to help.
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Franzena Bridget

franzena BridgetFranzena came to Houston in 1999 for change and renewal. After arriving, she was immediately employed by the Four Seasons Houston. Living in the city proved to be more exciting and wondrous than she had imagined. She was working in a fabulous hotel in the 4th largest city in the country! What could go wrong?
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Stanford Dupaty

Stanford DupatyEvery SEARCH client is a relative or friend of someone who cares about them; for Stanford Dupaty, it was his sister. Originally from Donaldsonville, LA, Dupaty unfortunately lost his Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license after he had some bad experiences with drugs and alcohol. At his sister’s insistence, he came to Houston where she knew there were opportunities for him to get the help he needed.

He immediately enrolled at the Star of Hope, on August 11. Because he was ready to take action and change his life situation, he made the commitment to stay sober. Dupaty celebrates his second anniversary of sobriety this week!
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Audrey Crawford

The Crawford FamilyThe direction a parent follows can lead their children to think beyond themselves and make an impact on others and their community.



My daughter, 11-year old Audrey Crawford, is watching, listening and creating a life path that reflects what she’s learning at home-to live and love generously.
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Billy Roberson

Billy Roberson PhotoThis month we spotlight SEARCH’s cook extraordinaire, Billy Roberson! Billy has been with SEARCH for the past 5 years and has been such a great asset. For Billy, being able to serve the people and interact with them is the highlight of his day. “If I can make just a few minutes of their time easier, that makes me happy.”

“When a client says, thank you Mr. Billy, that is what makes my day here at SEARCH!” Read More


Michael Collier

Michael Collier PhotoHow does a college graduate with a 3.85 GPA from Chicago and a stable job end up living under the Pierce Elevated in Houston? It was a calamitous yet simple combination of job loss plus identity theft.

Michael Collier came to Houston in 2008 to join the team to install the AT&T U-Verse System. Unfortunately, along with 25,000 ATT employees and contractors nationwide, he lost his job in 2009. Even though he secured a permanent position with DuPont only 3 weeks later, he lost that opportunity as well when he found out that the Social Security office records indicated that he was deceased. DuPont was not able to retain him with insufficient records. Read More


Jeffrey Griddine

Jeffrey Griddine Photo“Working in the SEARCH kitchen allowed me to keep on top of my culinary skills,” Jeffrey says.

Even though Jeffrey Griddine, 46, hit a breaking point and hit rock bottom, he did not let his frustration and disappointment ruin his life. Today, Jeffrey has a furnished place to live, he has a stable job and he earned his chef’s certification so he can continue to build his career. Read More


Wendy Thomas

Wendy Thomas Photo“When you’re homeless, it’s not just about coming up with food and basic needs it’s also about your mind. You’re so busy standing in lines and trying to survive that you have no time to take care of the emotional needs you have.” Read More



Markevin Thurston

Markevin Thruston Photo“I knew I had to change the people, places and things in my life if I was going to be successful. Meeting the people with SEARCH, and those I reconnected with through Facebook, has been a big part of my recovery.” Markevin Thurston Read More



Harold J. Foster

Harold J. FosterNo matter what your circumstances, “you cannot lose your education and knowledge,” declared Maurice Barksdale. It was this positive outlook and tenacity that helped him work through twelve tough months of living on the streets and various shelters. Read More




Maurice Barksdale

Maurice Barksdale with Susan MostNo matter what your circumstances, “you cannot lose your education and knowledge,” declared Maurice Barksdale. It was this positive outlook and tenacity that helped him work through twelve tough months of living on the streets and various shelters. Read More


Kaia Brown

Kaia & Rod BrownAt only 8 years old, standing at a petite 3’5″, Kaia Brown has a heart the size of the State of Texas. One day, she just knew it was the right thing to do….she went into her room and counted up the money she saved from her allowance. Then she told her parents, Tanya and Roderick, that she wanted to make a donation to SEARCH. Last year, Kaia’s mom and dad introduced her to philanthropy by helping her and her brother make sack lunches and hygiene kits for SEARCH clients. The experience stuck with her and she was ready to do more.Read More

Gary Anderson

Gary AndersonIt was the combination of SEARCH’s Disability Specialist Charity Dominguez’s tenaciousness and a little luck from an internet search. After being separated for at least 20 years, and experiencing homelessness for 7 years, Gary Anderson and his sister and brother-in-law from Indiana were reunited in June of 2012. Read More


Benny Guidry

Benny GuidryLike many people, Mr. Benny Guidry was greatly affected by the downturn in our economy. In 2009, he lost his job and thus began a challenging search for work. Benny soon discovered that finding a job was not as easy as it had been years prior. After going through his savings, Benny lost his apartment; not long after, his wallet was stolen. With no ID and no place to live, life became even more difficult. Read More


Allison & Allen

Mother/Son Team Take SEARCH by StormAllison and her son Allen, age 6, are each SEARCH success stories in their own right. Allen attended SEARCH’s House of Tiny Treasures for one year. The staff not only gave him a sound educational foundation, they offered the special kind of Tender Loving Care he really needed. Finally, Allen was able to feel safe and was able to learn and feel self confident once again. His experience in Kindergarten has been a huge success. Read More

Deborah Brown

Photo of Deborah BrownDeborah Brown is not the typical SEARCH donor—not because she’s a teen, because the number of teen volunteers and in-kind donors is on the rise at SEARCH. She’s a second generation SEARCH volunteer. Read More




Harry and Marisa Brown

Harry & Marisa BrownUnited in a spirit of community action, Harry and Marisa met, volunteered, and began their romance at SEARCH Homeless Services. Read More




Sarah Pander

Sarah PandarSEARCH Staff member Sarah Pander is a true warrior for her clients. Recently, one of SEARCH’s clients was in jeopardy of being evicted and needed immediate assistance to secure supportive housing.Read More




Earl Moore

Earl MooreJust days after Earl Moore was released from Texas State prison, he arrived at SEARCH. That same day, he enrolled in our services and started working for one of our partners who is a felon-friendly employer. Read More



Gordon McBee

Gordon McBeeGordon McBee has been clean for a little over 8 years. In that time he has worked hard to overcome a life of drug addiction and all of the accompanying complications. Now Gordon participates in Recovery Group and is considering becoming a peer counselor. But Gordon doesn’t stop at self-improvement; he is committed to improving the community, and he keeps animals top of mind. Read More


Jerry Cohn

John Cohn2505 Fannin is more than a building at the corner of McGowen and San Jacinto. It’s the mailing address for thousands of SEARCH clients past and present. Each week, SEARCH receives around 3,000 pieces of mail for our clients. Organizing this quantity of mail requires the handiwork of a professional. Read More

Russhane Harris

Russhane HarrisRusshane Harris, Stabilization Services Housing Coordinator, found SEARCH after she was evacuated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Houston offered job security and a safe place to stay for Russhane and her then ten-year-old son. She found employment at SEARCH through a temporary employment agency and worked for several months as a “temp” before she was hired permanently. Read More

Angela Harris

Angela HarrisAngela Harris, former SEARCH client, celebrated a monumental September. In addition to starting a Master’s program in Accounting at University of Houston, she joined Pentagroup Financial as a collector and is now working full-time. She also purchased her first car and her daughter moved back home, after two years of living with relatives.

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John Poventud

John PoventudSEARCH’s Adult Learning Center student, John Poventud, was one of only three winners of the Learner of the Year scholarship, sponsored by the Houston READ Commission on September 13. John received his award during Literacy Night at the Minute Maid Park pitcher’s mound, a far cry from Houston’s streets where he lived after Hurricane Ike.

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Dwight Collins

Dwight CollinsDwight Collins grew up in San Francisco, leaving home at age 17 to pursue a lifetime dream of being a Chaplin in the Marine Corps. He went on to proudly serve our country for eight years. When he returned multiple family tragedies, including being misplaced by Katrina, left him feeling down on his luck.

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Connie & Family

Connie & FamilyConnie and her husband arrived in Houston three years ago with the hopes of creating a brighter future. After struggling to make ends meet, they finally lost their home. Working diligently with the support of the shelter and SEARCH’s House of Tiny Treasures, Connie and her family are getting back on their feet.

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Chris & Tyler

Chris & TylerChris and Tyler, two of the Adult Learning Center GED graduates this Spring, are from very different worlds, but they’ve arrived at SEARCH with the same purposeful resolve.They each are finishing school to make a better impact in the lives of others. Read More


HildaAt age 48, Hilda finds herself where she never expected – starting life over. Thanks to SEARCH, she has shelter, work, and now, hope for the future. Born and raised in Houston, she faced what no child should ever have to face: the loss of her mother at age ten. Within two years, she also lost her father and grandmother.

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GeorgeGeorge had been working as a roughneck for more than 20 years. Toiling on offshore oil rigs is hard and dangerous work, but George has always liked hard work and it kept his home comfortable and food on the table. When Hurricane Ike hit in September 2008 it destroyed everything in its path.

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Woody & Michelle

Woody & MichelleDuring the past y

ear, SEARCH’s Mobile Outreach team was able to rescue a couple from Peoria, Illinois. Woody and Michelle, both in their late 30’s, packed their suitcases and drove to Houston following a job lead promised by a friend. Like so many situations in a nervous economy, the lead fell through. Read More


XavierXavier dropped out of school in 10th grade. He challenged authority, had behavioral problems, began abusing drugs, and ended up on the streets. His mother was at a loss. When Xavier finally decided he wanted help, he found treatment and shelter at the Salvation Army Men’s Center. Read More

In the News

  • Comerica Bank Changing Lives

    Comerica Bank Changing Lives: SEARCH Homeless Services

  • Fostering the Joy of Reading at SEARCH’s House of Tiny Treasures

    The Super Bowl Host Committee sponsored a book fair at the House of Tiny Treasures to provide our young students with precious books and to help nurture a love of reading and learning.

  • Hola, Houston KRIV CH 26

    Homelessness is a big issue in the houston area any time of year, but particularly this time of the season when temperatures can drop to or below freezing, but what can we do to address the problem. One organization called “SEARCH Homeless Services ” is taking a very unique approach here to tell us more about that we have the Executive Director Thao Costis.