Housing Navigators: Making a Difference
Share has added a new position that has made a dramatic increase in the number of clients being housed. A Housing Navigator engages and motivates those experiencing homelessness by linking them with housing opportunities, developing budgets, completing applications and advocating with local landlords. In just one month, our Share House Housing Navigator, Gavin Rose, recently moved 30% of the Share House residents into housing.
Otha Common is top of mind when considering clients who have benefitted from a partnership with Share’s Housing Navigators. When asked if we could share his journey with others, he readily agreed. His only request was, “Don’t forget to talk about Gavin, he’s awesome. A heaven sent for me. He got me a place and did it quickly.”
Staff first met Otha at Share House while he was eating at the Hot Meals program. He had the biggest, most welcoming smile and the most infectious laugh. Otha grew up in Chicago and used boxing as a way to keep off the streets and stay out of trouble. He often shared stories about his days as an AAU boxer, and professional boxing career. Otha would visit with some of the clients in the area and was always willing to give rides and support to people when they were in need. At the time, Otha was employed building homes. But he injured his knee and spent a long time pursuing a worker’s compensation claim to get his knee repaired. After the injury, his health rapidly declined, in part due to his living conditions. He was unable to work and lost his home. He lived in his car for a while and eventually couldn’t keep up with the cost and lost it, too.
His earlier acts of kindness were rewarded. Upon learning Otha had lost his car and was having to sleep on the street, one of his friends let us know. The program director reached out to Otha to talk about his options and he entered shelter in 2016. Click the link below to read the entire story of Otha’s successful in securing housing.
Download a PDF version of the Fall 2018 Edition of ‘Sharing Lives’ to read all the stories from this quarter.