Beyond Homes Program Impact

Resident Angel grew up in a single parent household with five siblings. His mother worked two jobs and would come home late just to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. A consistent participant in Beyond Homes’ Learning & Leadership after-school program, Angel knew that his goal to pursue a degree in Biology at University of California, Santa Barbara would be too expensive for his mom to afford. Beyond Homes resident services staff helped him apply for financial aid, including Abode Communities’ Building Hope Scholarship. Angel remarked, “This scholarship will lessen the financial burden and allow me to focus on the rigor that the modern academia entails. I am extremely humbled and honored to have earned this scholarship.”

Eight-year-old Heavenli was reading below grade level and struggled with comprehension. Beyond Homes’ program tutors brought this to the resident coordinator’s attention and together, with Heavenli and her mother, implemented a reading and comprehension program once a week throughout the summer. Heavenli is now a third-grade student reading at her grade level and completing homework unassisted. Her mother, Twanna, commented, “Heavenli used to be shy. Now, when she’s done with school, she rushes me to get to the after-school program.”

Maribel, mother of two, was suffering from anxiety and depression. After attending a Beyond Homes workshop on maintaining health relationships, Maribel engaged her coordinator for assistance in making an appointment to assess her behavioral health needs. “I had no idea finding a home would mean finding such great support. I now feel in control of my own self, body, and mind, and I know how to better cope with stress in my life.”

After attending a resident meeting, Selma resident Beatriz modestly inquired about receiving unemployment assistance. She had been unemployed for five months and with no computer access at home, and was limited to searching for jobs on her cell phone. Through multiple one-on-one sessions with Selma’s resident services coordinator, Beatriz developed a job search and readiness plan. Beatriz, used the on-site computer lab to participate in online competency exams and with the help of her coordinator, revised and updated her resume, as well as practiced her interview skills. As a result, she was hired as a part-time insurance agent last fall, and in early 2017, was promoted to full-time agent. She remarked, “I’m very thankful for the services program and strongly believe that I would not have the career I have now if it weren’t for the support I received from resident services.”

Liz, a 51 y/o custodian of her two grandsons aged 7 and 5, attended a seven-week series of parenting classes to learn how to better manage her grandsons’ behavior. In the workshops, Liz learned how to meditate with deep breathing exercises; establish house rules; effectively manage arguments; and maintain consistency with consequences. Liz remarked, “Now I know how to be calm and clear when I teach the boys there are consequences to every action. I am in more control and have been able to maintain these techniques. I am beyond grateful!”

Casa Dominguez’s resident services coordinator applied to the LA Rams Community Partner Program, which resulted in 50 free tickets to the LA Rams game on August 25th. The tickets gave Casa families the chance to strengthen familial bonds through an experience the majority of whom would never prioritize due to cost. Resident Cheryl, who attended the game with her daughter and grandkids, commented, “Being on a fixed income means that we don’t get out together very often, especially not to something like a professional football game at the Coliseum!”

Jordan faced unplanned car repair expenses which meant he would be short on rent. Selma’s resident service coordinator referred Jordan to FamilySource Center, where he was approved for rental assistance. The financial assistance was not expected to arrive by the rent’s due date, so Jordan engaged his coordinator again to help negotiate a rent extension and access budgeting resources. “Before I would just spend when I needed, not thinking of the future. I feel so much stronger now and can even save money.”

*Resident name has been changed to ensure anonymity.

High school senior Christian had been accepted to Cal State Long Beach with plans to major in accounting, but didn’t want to burden his parents with additional expenses. He engaged his coordinators who registered him to compete in the Community Aide Project for Education annual essay contest to win MacBook Air laptop. Las Brisas resident coordinator was delighted to share the news his essay won! He remarked, “…We got to strike that item [the laptop] off our list of things to purchase. Thank you [to resident services] for helping to make it happen.”

Beyond Homes resident services programming helps families and individuals prevent homelessness, break free from the cycle of poverty, and improve their livelihoods as they work to achieve self-sufficiency and upward mobility. Hear directly from residents about how access to service-enhanced affordable housing at Abode Communities has impacted their livelihoods.

On his 2017 Building Hope Scholarship application, Ryan remarked, “On my back, I carry an invisible, rainbow-colored bag of trials and tribulations, hopes and dreams, toys and weapons. Through the hardy experiences, I am able to empathize with every group of people better, and in turn, grow as a person. I am battle-hardened, for my mom who worked alone to support our impoverished family, and to my sister, who stood up for me when I couldn’t.”

Long before Ryan dreamed of pursuing a career in computer software development, he survived poverty and abuse, and moved to and from various foster homes. This instability required him to transfer schools too often, and even held him back one academic year.

After reuniting with his mom and older sister, the family moved to Abode Communities’ Las Brisas. He remarked, “I was finally able to have a place I could call home. A place to study, to relax, to play hide-and-seek with just the three of us. It was a blissful period in my life.”

His home gave him the opportunity to stabilize and excel throughout high school. Ryan became a part of his school’s GATE program, where he was given the opportunity to complete Advanced Placement classes and participate in a college preparatory magnet program. In his spare time, Ryan volunteered for UNICEF, Trinity Foster Care, and Families Uniting Families, all organizations dedicated to better the lives of underserved and foster care children.

During this time, Ryan recognized that college would not be possible without additional financial support and turned to Abode Communities’ Building Hope Scholarship Program to supplement his tuition. “Winning this award [$10,000] is nothing short of a dream. Not just a dream though, but a grand opportunity.”

Now enrolled at California State University, Long Beach for the Fall 2017 semester, Ryan will study computer software engineering. “I have an aspiration for helping others, and I want to work toward becoming someone who designs software to assist people in need, possibly in the medical field.”

A skilled soccer enthusiast, Victor moved to Abode Communities’ Harbor View Place when he was seven years old. Feeling isolated, he worked to make new friends, many of whom were the same kids that lived in his building and participated in Beyond Homes’ Learning & Leadership Program. He, too, began attending the after-school program and accessing the computer lab, and eventually turned to his resident services coordinator to learn more about applying for and attending college. Victor remarked, “I knew I needed help because no one in my family has ever gone to college.” With the help of Beyond Homes’ staff, he obtained 1:1 application support, as well as assistance in identifying and applying for financial aid. In Fall 2017, Victor will be a freshman at CSU, Dominguez Hills, where he will be play soccer and major in engineering.

Toward the end of 2017, Rio Vista resident Alma was without health insurance and afraid that she would have to pay tax penalties. After receiving several mixed messages about Medical coverage, Alma turned to her on-site resident services coordinator who contacted the correct department to handle Alma’s case. The services coordinator then scheduled Alma’s appointment and helped guide her through the process of gathering documentation. A few weeks later, Alma was thrilled to share that she now had affordable health insurance and her lapse in coverage would not be penalized. With this great news, the services coordinator linked Alma to resources where should could file her taxes for free. Alma remarked, “If I didn’t have the support, I wouldn’t have been able to sort out my insurance or saved money on my taxes.”