Houston Endowment Makes $12.5 Million Investment in The Way Home

Sally* has lived in the greater Houston area for more than ten years. Unfortunately, life took a downward turn in 2010 when she found herself homeless. Service provider staffers at multiple homeless services organizations including THE BEACON Day Center, Houston Area Community Services, Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston, SEARCH Homeless Services, and Star of Hope engaged with Sally to try to help her. Sally suffered from PTSD due to her many years on the streets, and it was hard for her to trust people. Under the umbrella of The Way Home, system partners made a connection that helped Sally change her path in life. She was housed in late 2014, and with ongoing supportive services remains stable to this day.

Houston Endowment, the well-known Houston-based philanthropic foundation established by Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones in 1937 has stepped up in a big way to put some dollars behind The Way Home. The Foundation recently announced six major grants totaling $12.5 million to local nonprofits that are a part of The Way Home.

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Finding The Way Home

By Loretta Randolph, Coordinated Access Housing Assessor/Navigator, THE BEACON

The Beacon_022315_2Ms. Green first experienced homelessness and visited THE BEACON in 2012. For most of her adult life she has struggled with her mental health diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Often, Ms. Green would self-medicate or even refuse to accept her condition and drift around Houston’s downtown area.

One morning while Ms. Green was wandering the streets, officers from the Houston Police Department’s Mental Health Division approached Ms. Green. The officers offered her a ride to THE BEACON. Not only did the officers want her to receive basic needs services like showers, laundry, and meals (offered at THE BEACON), they also wanted to help her go through The Way Home’s Coordinated Access housing assessment process, which is housed at THE BEACON. Reluctantly Ms. Green agreed to ride with the HPD officers and to enter the Coordinated Access process.

Once assessed, we found Ms. Green to be a great candidate for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and I was able to work with her as she advanced through the process and waited to receive housing. PSH is defined as long-term housing assistance coupled with supportive services needed to keep an individual stably housed, and is typically most suited for chronically homeless individuals. A chronically homeless individual is a person who has a disabling condition that has either been continually homeless for more than a year, or has had four or more episodes of homelessness in the last three years.

Ms. Green moved into PSH in January of 2015, and as a result, she is now able to keep her medications in a secure place as well as keep all of her medical and psychiatric appointments. Ms. Green works with a trained therapist who specializes in treating individuals with paranoid schizophrenia once a week and says that she, “has a new outlook on life.” Ms. Green is dedicated to her treatments and hopes that with some help and continued support with housing, she can seek employment soon.