Backbone organizations typically don’t provide direct service. Oddly enough, Journey Home still gets many visitors on a daily basis. Clients coming in to inquire about the Housing Choice Voucher program or simply to ask for help with housing. One recent day, a woman came in to see Kelly Gonzalez, Journey Home’s Peer Specialist. This woman has been known to have been sleeping outside for at least the past year. Kelly’s goal was to get the client verified and document ready for housing. One of the biggest barriers with documentation is obtaining verification for people who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation.
The woman came in to make an appointment since Kelly has been looking for her in the community. As she was making an appointment, our mailman came in. The client left and he jokingly asked us if she was giving us trouble. He mentioned seeing her every day on his route. A spark went off. Could he be the missing piece? It seemed like it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Although he has delivered our mail almost every day for the past two years, it wasn’t entirely clear if he knew what Journey Home does day in and day out. We began to explain our role in ending homelessness in our region.
It was later revealed that he has seen her sleeping in places not meant for human habitation for the past 9 years, more than 10-15 times a month. He has also witnessed her searching through trash for food on several occasions. He has even gone to the extent of buying her food from fast food restaurants if they are near one. The best part of all this was that he was willing to write all of this on a letter to verify her length of homeless history. This was such a big help for Kelly in completing the client’s homeless verification. Fate is defined as “to be destined to happen.” Was it fate that brought him in when she was here or was it just a coincidence? We don’t know for sure but we can say that she is one step closer to being housed, thanks to our mailman.