Nate’s Story: The Long Road Home

More than 15 years on the streets and then to a one-bedroom apartment…this is Nate’s story

Nate lived on the streets off and on for more than 15 years. Our Outreach Manager, Pete, built a relationship with Nate, checking in on him for about five years. Pete encouraged him to try Haven and access our wrap-around services.

One day, Nate told Pete he was ready. “It’s time for a change. I can’t do this anymore,” Nate said.

Nate came to Haven and within four months, he had his ID back, had reinstated social security benefits, took some budgeting classes, and reinstated his healthcare benefits. He was housed through a program between Haven and Opportunity Home.

To hear Nate’s story, click below.

Destin – Connecting with Peers

Destin is one of Haven’s Young Adult clients. Haven has seen an increase in young adults experiencing homelessness in our community. In FY 2023, Haven served 789 young adults aged 18-24, a 31% increase from the previous year.

Haven launched a Young Adult program, which includes 24 beds in our low-barrier side of campus, the Courtyard, and 28 beds on our Transformational Campus.

The young adult program includes specialty case management, gender-neutral restrooms, and common areas with TVs, gaming devices, and computers.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Led Alan to Haven

Meet Alan: Alan was a successful businessman working with custom homebuilders until the economy and real estate market crashed in 2008. After losing his job and struggling to make ends meet as an artist, a series of health issues in 2020 led to Alan losing everything. He came to Haven for Hope to get back on his feet. Click here to hear his inspiring testimonial.

Single Mom of Four Never Gives Up

Nadia was living with her four children in her Mom’s one-bedroom house. She had lost her job during the pandemic. She was a caregiver and her client died from Covid. Things went downhill from there and soon Nadia lost her car.

After living with her Mom for a while, she knew she had to do something for her family. “My Mom wasn’t used to having kids in the house again. It was very crowded. I didn’t want to burden her.”

Nadia and her children stayed at Haven for a year. They were in line to rent a home and her kids were very excited. They even went to the house to rake leaves before moving in. Nadia said they bagged 9 bags of leaves. “The kids loved that house.” Unfortunately, the landlord received an offer to sell the home. “It was an offer he couldn’t refuse. We were very disappointed, but we didn’t give up hope.”

Nadia had always worked hard to provide for her children as a single mom. “This has been a learning experience for my children, homelessness can happen to anyone.”

As Nadia reflects on her time at Haven, she’s grateful. Grateful for the staff, the programs, and the classes. She attended Income and Skills Development classes and worked on her resume so she can find another more financially stable job. Her kids participated in some of the teen nights and movie nights at Haven. Nadia was grateful her children had the opportunity to continue attending their charter school. As for her dream job, Nadia says she wants to give back. “I want to help people; this can happen to anyone. It’s been a humbling experience.”

To watch Nadia’s interview with Haven staff, click here.

Air Force Vet Credits Haven for Giving Him Purpose

DevLynn is an only child. When his parents needed help and care as they aged, he knew he needed to be there. “I signed that paperwork the day I was born. They raised me, took care of me, I needed to be there for them.”

DevLynn cared for his parents and after his grandmother and parents passed away, he lived off his inheritance. Until the lease was more than he could afford. “I couldn’t sign the lease. I couldn’t stay there anymore.” DevLynn took his belongings and lived in his car. His car was paid for and if it was running, he had a place to stay. Then his car broke down. He couldn’t afford to retrieve it after it was towed. He didn’t have a valid ID. “All I had was my D214 military ID, it doesn’t have a photo,” he explained.

DevLynn relied on his support system to help him for a few months. But without a job or the money to keep paying for his stuff in storage, he knew he needed more help. His friend helped him get his valuables out of storage, including his father’s ashes. “That was very important to me.” As an Air Force vet, he didn’t fully understand the benefits he had earned. His friend dropped him off at Haven for Hope and he began working with the Veteran’s team. “I’m working on getting my identity back, I’m enrolled in VA health benefits, I have my VA ID card, I’m working on my income and housing plans.”

He thanks the team at Haven for giving him direction. “I didn’t know what to do, where to go to get help. The team worked with me. If I have a bad day, they pick up me up and tell me to stick it out.” It’s important for DevLynn to transform his life. “I don’t want to fail. Even though my parents aren’t here to see this, I don’t want to disappoint them.” He believes it’s a privilege to live in the United States and he is glad he served four years in the Air Force. “Serving in the military helped me understand the freedoms we have.”

He is willing to take any job that will provide a steady income. He owes his progress to his support system, especially his case manager, Jose. He said Haven for Hope staff will point you in the right direction, but he must do the work. “Thank you, Haven for giving me direction. Thank you for giving me purpose.”

To hear from DevLynn, click here!

Tanavita – Overcoming substance use and mental health barriers

Tanavita came to Haven for Hope for one purpose – to get help with her mental health. Tanavita grew up in a loving family. She was raised in California and “never wanted for anything.” She recalls family trips to Disneyland and the beach.

Tanavita is like many of Haven’s clients. She suffers from depression and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When possible, she took the proper medications, but when things would get rough, she self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. She moved around a lot and eventually moved to East Texas when her sister asked her to come and live with her. While at her sister’s, Tanavita got a job but was very lonely. Her depression worsened.

Her Mom and daughter had moved to San Antonio. Tanavita knew she wanted to help care for her Mom, but she needed to get her life back on track. Tanavita turned to Google and found Haven for Hope. Haven is the second shelter she has been to. She came with the goal to get the proper medication for her mental health conditions and learn to become a part of society again.

“I am a willing participant. I follow all the guidelines,” she said. “I have utilized the Clinical Services, Income and Skills Development resources and landed a job within 22 days.” Staff at Haven have suggested that Tanavita become a peer support counselor.

Click here to hear from Tanavita and her experiences at Haven for Hope.

Safe and Stable Home – Jenifer’s Story

Jenifer was only at Haven for Hope for a couple of weeks, but she participated in several classes and accessed numerous resources for herself and her twin 6-year-old grandsons.

“I didn’t want to be here, but we didn’t have a choice,” Jenifer says of her brief experience at Haven. She and her grandsons were staying with family friends and moved around a lot. “It wasn’t ideal for my grandsons. I wanted better for them.”

She had filled out an application at the rental complex where she wanted to live. “They told me it was going to be 6 to 12 months. I had to do something.”

To hear Jenifer’s testimonial: Click Here