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Six in Six Week 5: Homeward Bound - There IS Room in the Inn

When Alicia first walked into Homeward Bound as a client in 2005, she was looking for support.  When she walked in as a Homeward Bound employee this year, she was looking to give that same support back.

Alicia’s a drug addict.  She’s moved a lot trying to outrun her addiction, always looking to start over somewhere new in hopes that leaving an old environment will result in leaving old habits.  She moved in to Asheville in 2005 to live with a friend, and when that didn’t work out, she became homeless and started using again.  When she found Homeward Bound’s Room in the Inn program, she stayed with us & stayed clean for 5 months.  From there, she moved into transitional housing, where she relapsed.  She came back to Room in the Inn, and stayed there until she moved into her own apartment through Homeward Bound’s Pathways to Permanent Housing program.  After 10 months in housing, she was evicted for drug use, and she spent some time in jail and on the streets.  She came back to Room in the Inn for the third time in 2008, because she knew she would be safe and clean there, she knew she’d be welcome, and she knew Homeward Bound hadn’t given up on her.

In June of 2008 Homeward Bound housed her again, and this time it stuck.  But, a year into it she relapsed again…and then she found out she was having a baby.  Isabelle has made all the difference!  She’s almost two years old and she’s been the driving force behind Alicia’s commitment to stay clean.

Alicia will tell you that housing ends homelessness.  And she’ll tell you that agencies that build relationships with clients succeed.  Because of her relationship with Homeward Bound, she kept coming back to Room in the Inn when she needed help.  She’ll also tell you not to give up on people when they make mistakes.  After 3 rounds in Room in the Inn and 2 tries in housing, she finally has the stable life she was headed towards all along.

When she moved into housing in 2008 and started working, she slowly began taking over rent & utilities payments from Homeward Bound.  A year ago, she graduated into self-sufficiency, and hasn’t needed Homeward Bound since…but Homeward Bound has needed her!  When the agency created a Peer Support Specialist position several months ago, Alicia was the obvious choice.  She had a stable job, but she wanted to give back, and she wanted to reach out to folks like herself who are struggling and need supportive relationships and housing to move out of homelessness for good.

Alicia’s story is a testament to the fact that housing ends homelessness.  And it’s also a tribute to the importance of pairing that housing with the kind of support that helps you get back up again when you fall down.

The North Carolina Housing Coalition tirelessly advocates for programs and funding that make our work possible. Please consider making a gift to the NC Housing Coalition this holiday season and help others like Alicia move from homelessness to a home of their own.

Happy Holidays,

Emily Ball
Director of Community Engagement
Homeward Bound of Asheville

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