While the only way to cure homelessness is through housing, providing a home is just the first step on the path toward stability and self-sufficiency. Even after receiving a roof over their heads, many of our clients need ongoing help in order to stabilize their lives and maintain their housing.
Once our clients have a safe place to call home and no longer have to worry about meeting their daily needs and surviving on the street, they are able to focus turning their lives around. Under the Housing First approach, we first place our clients in a stable home and then provide extensive case management and wrap-around support services to help them increase their income, improve their health, rebuild their lives, and maintain their stability over the long-term.
SEARCH’s skilled case managers are located at the various housing sites where our clients reside to work with the formerly homeless residents and support them as they work to regain their independence.
Success Stories for Housing
Keina - Housing
A single mother at only 19 years old, Keina is determined to provide a better life for herself and her 4-month old son. Keina's troubles started when her family lost their home in Hurricane Katrina. Eventually placed into the custody of CPS, Keina found herself homeless again after aging out of the foster care system. Keina was living at a shelter when she found SEARCH. Struggling with a learning disability, Keina relied heavily on SEARCH to help her navigate the complex and overwhelming process of obtaining housing. With SEARCH’s help and support, Keina is now in a home of her own and is working to graduate high school. Keina has promised her case manager that "Failure is not an option!"
Brenda - Housing
Homelessness can happen to anyone. Brenda has a degree in psychology from the University of Texas. Yet after losing her job and a series of unfortunate events, Brenda found herself homeless and living in a shelter. For Brenda, SEARCH was "exactly what I needed." Through SEARCH, Brenda was able to get back into a home of her own and has successfully maintained that housing for two years. Wanting to give back and help others, Brenda is going back to school to become a music therapist.
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."
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.
Jhonathan B. - Housing
Disconnected from his family and let go from his part-time job - Jhonathan B., 21, had been homeless since August 2016. Jhonathan discovered SEARCH in April 2017, and after 10 months of homelessness, Jhonathan opened the door to his new apartment in June 2017.
What does this mean to Jhonathan? Jhonathan states "It feels good now that I don’t have to deal with anyone trying to steal my things now that I have a door with a lock on it." He was also overjoyed to finally have the opportunity to "shower whenever he wants to." After having a place to call home, Jhonathan expressed his desire to find a job to help him get back on his feet.
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."