In order to comply with the HIPPA laws, we have replaced all the names of the individuals in the testimonials.
"...how the organization helped me help others" – Rental Housing Program Tenant
Meet Cheryl, a resident of Broward Housing Solutions properties, a single mother of five children. Formerly homeless – with five children in tow – Cheryl found the “blessing” of Broward Housing Solutions. Click here to hear her story.
Special thanks to the Forum for Non-Profits for enabling us to share this with you.
“…they placed me where I belonged” – Rental Housing Program Tenant
If you look very closely, you can still spot the shame in Jane’s eyes.
“You don’t like yourself at all when you’re homeless. You feel like a failure … I was sleeping outdoors. I’m embarrassed about that.”
But, Jane pronounces, “I’ve changed from that person who was homeless.”
Jane started experiencing erratic behavior in her teen years. But she wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder until she was in her 40s. The years in between were marked by an unpredictable lifestyle and heavy drinking, which eventually left her living on the streets.
“It was very scary. I didn’t have a home and I was very stressed. I felt hopeless,” she said.
Jane’s journey brought her to the doorstep of BPHI’s Homeless Assistance Center. There, her bipolar disorder was diagnosed and she began taking the appropriate medications. She hasn’t touched alcohol since. She spent three months at the Homeless Assistance Center.
“For the first time in my life, they placed me where I belonged,” she said. “We all had each other. There were people my age and we all wondered how we ended up there. It was the start of my recovery.”
She left the Homeless Assistance Center and moved into transitional housing. She eventually moved into permanent supportive housing provided by Broward Housing Solutions where she has resided for the past six years.
“It meant everything to be given a chance,” she said. “There are so many people who don’t have a chance.”
Young Adult Succeeds Professionally – Housing Solutions for Young Adults
Currently, we have six youth residing on the property of which each one’s personal story is “a success”. However, Tom ’s story illuminates not only the importance of providing services to transitional youth in our community, but illustrates one shining example of the benefits of having support and teaching independent living skills to those youth that have aged out of foster care and have a history of mental illness.
Tom has a history of spending four of the past five years in a state penitentiary and one year in county jail for a crime he committed at age sixteen. Tom entered the Wilson Gardens program at age 21, and is already working toward a certification in Barbering. Tom faced major challenges regarding self motivation and his reintegration into society upon his release from the correctional facility. Tom began attending Sheridan Technical Center full time, where he receives an "A” average on school work. Tom began working part time at Mac’s Barber Shop in Hollywood, Fl., which affords him the opportunity to gain “hands-on” experience towards his goal of a barbering certification. He is associating mainly with peers in the program, and has formed a close bond with the Wilson Gardens’ residents. He is becoming involved in extracurricular activities such as chess, bible study and sporting events. He attends all community trainings, works weekly with his life coach, and participates each week in the Wilson Gardens community meetings. Reunification with his biological family has also been achieved and he looks forward to his visits with them. Through the “incentive plan” that was implemented he earned grocery gift cards and eyeglasses.
Tom has successfully reintegrated into society, with the unexpected and welcomed outcome of recovery. Tom had a history of legal issues and repeated jail time. Now Tom is free of legal problems, does not have any open cases, pending charges or arrests. Tom is demonstrating enhancement of self-sufficiency and independence through consistent education, employment, budgeting, and goal planning.
Transitions to Independence – Housing Solutions for Young Adults
Tim has envisioned himself realistically achieving heights of responsibility and self sufficiency he never had in sight before.
After successfully completing his GED testing, Tim is currently awaiting results, and preparing for a college career in business/ finance. Tim’s educational story is such a “success” because he has been working on achieving his GED certificate for four years, taking his GED test 3-times; and ironically, math was his hardest subject.
Tim has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Predominately Inattentive Type, making it hard to stay focused, feeling extremely overwhelmed and feeling resentment for even trying. Tim faced detachment from family and adjustment issues moving from place to place. Previous to this grant, Tim had a job at Cracker Barrel restaurant and worked full time, taking any overtime he could get. Since receiving help from the Community Foundation of Broward County through Broward Housing Solutions and Henderson MHC, Tim has received subsidy for his rent which enabled him to stop working as a bus boy (40-hours plus per week) and instead, begin concentrating on personal strengths and academic studies. Without medication, which often made him tired, Tim has buckled down, sought after assistance with tutoring and became vested in achieving an education to surpass socioeconomic boundaries in his long term vision.
Tim has completely recovered from a history of substance abuse that began at age 13. Previously, Tim self medicated to slow down his thinking processes so he could concentrate, and finding himself facing drug charges and other legal issues such as “obstruction of justice” due to feelings of anger and lack of self-control. Tim completed his court ordered substance abuse classes at the Family Therapy Center of Broward, and has completely remained clean and sober since December 2009 without relapse. Tim participates in a bible study group where he relies on faith to build self esteem and diminish fear of failure.
Thanks to the support of Community Foundation, Tim has evaded becoming a statistic in the penal system. Tim joined the savings match program and formulated a budget to save money for discharge & final transition to independence scheduled for his soon-to-come 23rd birthday. Tim now plans to live independently without public assistance.
Continuing My Education - Housing Solutions for Young Adults
Sarah, age 21, currently has the ability to attend Aveda School of beauty which is not funded by Child Net because it is a private operation. Because of the amazing opportunity for rental assistance, Sarah is able to pay for a portion of her education and afford supplies to build her cosmetology kit once she graduates from school.
Joe age 19 a graduating senior of Monarch high school has been offered this amazing opportunity of rental assistance to prepare for college post graduation by paying for books and materials as well as save for a car so that he will be able to get back and forth from school.
Mother and Daughter on the Streets – Rental Housing Program Tenant
After being hit by a drunk driver, Janet was injured and unable to work. She became depressed, suicidal, and was diagnosed as Bi-Polar. Her disability payment was insufficient to support her family and they became homeless. After living on the streets and in shelters for several months, Janet and her daughter moved into a BHS apartment. They now receive rental subsidies and monthly maintenance.
From Homeless to Homeowner – Homeownership Solutions Program (Lease-to-Buy Program)
Pain, suffering and difficulty have followed Isabela for most of her life, culminating 13 years ago with a horrible beating by her husband after only 11 days of marriage. A concussion, torn rotator cuff, whiplash, a broken foot and nerve damage only began to describe her injuries.
As the physical injuries healed, the mental wounds grew. The beating prompted the onset of schizophrenia and her life spiraled out of control. Today, Isabela is fully functioning thanks to help from Henderson Mental Health Center. Plus, she’s now the proud owner of a 2-bedroom, 2-bath home in Miramar, through Broward Housing Solutions’ Homeownership Solutions program.
“I am so grateful to God for creating this program which enabled me to finally have my own house,” said Isabela. “I found the home of my dreams.”
It was a long road to finding her dream home. Her schizophrenia was complicated by one physical malady after another. The doctors told her that her symptoms were due to stress and depression, but regardless, her chronic pain kept her out of a job.
“Then the bottom fell out and I went through an even worse shock mentally, emotionally and physically when my son was arrested for armed robbery and murder,” she said.
After seeking treatment from Henderson, she found mental stability. However, minimal income from only a disability check, bad credit and recurring mental health issues complicated the home buying process. With the help of Broward Housing Solutions and assistance from Bank Atlantic, Isabela completed her savings, repaired her credit and reached her goal of finding her home. The process took three years.
“Not only did Broward Housing Solutions provide a grant to help me purchase my home,” she said, “But they also kept their word and rehabbed many major systems in the house. It’s just like new.”
Isabela received help from through Broward Housing’s Homeownership Solutions, a program for low to moderate income residents with mental illness. This housing program enables tenants to lease affordable rental housing within the home of their choice from Broward Housing Solutions for up to two years and then qualify for a mortgage to become a homeowner.
Through the assistance of local government and financial institutions, special interest rates and loan guidelines assist these tenants reach their dream of becoming homeowners. This program matches qualified borrowers with properties within their price ranges. Broward Housing Solutions raises funds throughout the community to assist residents with down payment assistance, closing costs and renovation funds toward homeownership.
“We’re so pleased that Isabela is settled in her lovely new home,” said Lisa Vecchi, President/CEO of Broward Housing Solutions. “She’s suffered so much that it’s just awesome to see her filled with joy in her new residence.”