“She is very motivated,” this was just one of the many statements KCEOC Community Action Partnership staff had to say about Samantha Grubb. Samantha came to KCEOC’s Women’s Emergency Support Center-Homeless Shelter after losing her job and ultimately her home. She had been staying short term with family, but due to their limited resources, Samantha was forced to seek other options. She had been homeless before and had been able to successfully complete a program that assisted her in becoming a homeowner; however, due to the loss of her job, she was now once again facing a crisis and the difficulties that accompany homelessness.
Samantha began working with her Homeless Counselor, Sheila Wyatt, almost immediately. During Samantha’s stay at the shelter they were able to work together to address obstacles, identify resources, develop a budget, and complete a housing-first based action plan that included additional services needed to become stable once more. The homeless counseling provided the expertise needed for Samantha to learn how to obtain permanent housing. Samantha learned about transitioning from homeownership to renting, and when she was ready to move forward, she was provided with rapid re-housing resources to assist her with security and utility deposits, and short-term rent for securing an apartment.
Homeless counseling also provides a means to assist participants with accessing non-housing resources. With guidance and a referral from her Homeless Counselor, Samantha was provided assistance through KCEOC’s Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program with completing a resume and accessing job training classes. During her sessions at WIOA, she learned about a job fair co-hosted by KCEOC and the Job Shop. The Job Shop helped Samantha with job placement, which is now anticipated to lead to full time employment. She was also provided with required work clothing and shoes through resources made available by her Homeless Counselor.
As Samantha was sitting on a mattress, currently the only furnishings in her apartment, she described her proudest accomplishment during this ordeal. She said that she is proud of the responsibility she took for getting herself back on track. She missed working and was glad she was able to work again. She wants to attend a local community college and become a Certified Plant Manager. When asked how this experience had changed her, Samantha said, “It has made me more open to so many options I have in life. I feel more secure now, I can see a future now. When you are homeless, you feel there is no other options, this is the end. But it is not. I feel I had support, I was shown options that I didn’t even know about.”
Sheila Wyatt, Samantha’s Homeless Counselor, had this to say, “Samantha is the type of person that sticks to a plan until completed. She is a great person and knew when to seek help when she was up against problems and barriers. I knew when Samantha got on her feet again that she would do great. I am so proud of what she has been able to accomplish.”
Homeless counseling is more than just helping someone to enter a shelter. It is about providing guidance and direction, advocating, referring, and supporting individuals facing possibly the most difficult time in their lives. Homelessness is accompanied by many stereotypes and falsehoods. By reading Samantha’s story, it is hopeful that others will see that this can happen to anyone; however, with the support of programming like HUD’s Housing Counseling program, people can manage to regain stability and security in their life.