Do you have a story to tell about how government programs have helped you or how loss of those programs have put you at risk of homelessness? Have you known or worked with someone struggling with homelessness? You need to tell your story!
Stories from real people are one of our biggest and most important tools as advocates, and can often help legislators understand that the decisions they make affect real people every day. View this FAITH Guide with tips about telling your story, then, when you’re ready, share your story with us!
The Garcia Family (Catholic Housing Services)
In the fall of 2011, the “Garcia” family approached CHS Skagit Farm Worker Housing assistance with a very serious legal matter involving sexual assault and custody issues. Over the course of the next six months, Sarah, the Resident Services Coordinator, worked closely with the family, finding them resources for legal, health and medical matters. The Garcia family built a very strong trust in the services offered through their housing, and this has translated to their children, most specifically Lorena. Lorena is a soft-spoken, well-mannered 11-year-old girl, who, like her whole family, has suffered a lot during this difficult time.
The youth programs offered by CHS provide recreational activities to young residents who do not often get many opportunities to participate in such activities. The youth programs offer a safe, cheerful place for kids to be kids. Participating in the program, Lorena helped create a mosaic that is on display at a local health clinic, and she goes on field trips which teach such things as stewardship.
Even though she often completes her homework on her own, Lorena regularly stops by weekly homework club sessions just to say “hi” and offers help to Sarah. The goal of the youth program is to teach youth to have confidence, self-esteem and aninterest in participating in community projects. Lorena’s participation and consistency in the program demonstrates that kids thrive when they have safe places to go and opportunities to participate in these types of programs.
John and Bob (Hope House, Whatcom County Family Center)
John and Bob are Hope House volunteers, showing up several times a week to break down cardboard and empty trash. Both of these men are veterans who share a common bond in their faithful commitment to volunteering, and who originally came to Hope House in need of the basics—food, clothing and shelter. More importantly, what they also found was hope, and a welcoming community where they could contribute in a very real way in return for what they had received.
John, Bob and countless others rely on the services and support they receive from the compassionate volunteers and staff at Hope House, a collaborative effort between CCS, Assumption Catholic Parish and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Hope House provides services and assistance to individuals and families in need in Whatcom County.
Alicia (Catholic Housing Services)
Several years ago Alicia left Guadalajara, Mexico to build a new life in America. Like many others, she saw the United States as a place where she could have a bright future and escape the poverty of her native country. Alicia became one of the thousands of people working in Western Washington’s agricultural sector, laboring long hours for very little pay. Like many of her fellow laborers, she found it incredibly hard to locate safe housing, or to provide even basic needs for her three young children.
Alicia sought help from Catholic Housing Services who welcomed her family to Villa San Isidro, a CHS workforce housing community. Because of the support of the staff and the Villa San Isidro community, Alicia feels hopeful that her children will receive a good education and have many opportunities ahead of them. She has also set goals for herself, of earning her GED and becoming a fluent English speaker. Alicia was invited to share her story when by the Most Reverend Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle, visited and performed a blessing for the community. She thanked everyone in the community for coming together to work on the project and reflected, “We are very happy to be living at Villa San Isidro where we feel safe. We love the community here.”