Stephen King (yes, that’s his real name) didn’t plan to be homeless when his marriage fell apart. He was living in the East Valley, working at a good job, but he opted to give the house to his wife and 4 kids and ended up on the streets. He slept in his car for a while and spent some time at a homeless camp at Cesar Chavez park. He tried 3 other housing programs that didn’t work out for him.
“I couldn’t believe I was homeless.”
Stephen contemplated his housing options. His son invited him to stay with him, but he and his wife were newlyweds and Stephen didn’t want to intrude. He thought of going back to California where he has family. Stephen also spent some time in jail for missing child support payments.
“I’m a praying man. I needed a place to live.”
One day, fed up with sleeping on the streets, he thought he was calling Community Bridges and he called House of Refuge Sunnyslope (HRS) and got Abel Sambrano, our program manager. (Hand of God?)
Stephen moved in to HRS in July. When a single male resident first arrives, he shares a room with one other guy. After 30-60 days, a resident “in good standing” — obeying the rules such as meeting curfew, paying program fees, staying sober, as well as, attending Bible studies — they can move into a house.
From Homeless to Hopeful — Movin’ on Up
“It’s so comfortable and clean!”
Moving into a house helps the residents with building their sense of independence and freedom. They still have to meet curfew, attend dinners and bible studies – and, of course, stay sober.
He shares the home with 4 other guys, but he has his own bedroom. You can go to sleep when you want or stay up reading or watching TV.
“Lord, thank you for leading me to HRS! I’m happy to be in this house. God is answering my prayers.”
Stephen has a new job and is catching up with his bills. HRS also helps him save money to “move on”. The program lasts 16 months. Stephen also has a mentor who’s guiding him in his Christian walk.
HRS currently has 4 houses for the men and Canyon House is under construction. There are 2 houses for House of Promise (single women) and 3 properties for single moms and their children. The new Canyon house will be our 10th property.
We have several opportunities to volunteer to work with our male residents or cook meals for them.
No one plans to be homeless.
It could be a broken arm; an abusive relationship; divorce. And, yes, people also make mistakes and bad choices. However, when they find themselves in need of a place to live, and sincerely wish to turn their lives around, we are here to help them.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” ~Matthew 25: 37-40