Program Impact

Building, Transforming, Connecting: Going Beyond Homes

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.

Ryan: A Journey from Foster Care to College

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.”

Beatriz: Access to Technology = Key to Success

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.”

Victor: CSU Dominguez Hills, Class of 2021

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.

Alma: Navigating Health Benefits

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.”

Featured Service Provider Partner: Providence Little Company of Mary

Providence has lived out its mission to serve the poor and vulnerable by providing free health services in the South Bay community of Los Angeles since 1994.  As anchor tenant in Abode Communities’ and Mercy Housing’s New Dana Strand Community Center in Wilmington, Providence operates a Wellness and Activity Center offering free programs to more than 1,500 low-income people who call Abode Communities home. The programming, provided in partnership with Providence caregivers, nonprofit organizations, and community members who have volunteered to host workshops in areas of their own expertise, aims to help people become healthier outside of its hospitals’ walls.

Free programs include:

  • “Get Out and Live” diabetes self-management program;
  • “Building Stronger Families” community leader training program for adults;
  • Assistance with CalFresh, Covered CA, and Medi-Cal applications;
  • Exercise classes such as Zumba, Yoga, and walking groups)
  • Support groups for new parents;
  • Support groups for people who have suffered the loss of a love one;
  • Day camps for children;
  • Guitar classes;
  • Aztec dance class;
  • Soccer classes;
  • Movie nights; and
  • Many other special events that build connections among community members.

The facility also features a gymnasium, a large grassy field, outdoor basketball courts, and meeting spaces for community partners to offer classes and meetings.

As a result of this partnership, Abode Communities’ residents, as well as Wilmington residents in the surrounding community have a safe and vibrant space where they can partake in free activities that improve their health and wellness. Learn more.