Home for the Holidays with Hope House
12/22/2015 1:38 PM
This holiday season, families around Milwaukee will celebrate by coming together to eat, drink and enjoy the comforts of home. They may celebrate different holidays with different traditions, but they will share one thing: the comfort of spending time with loved ones in a safe place.
For too many families in our community, spending the holidays in their own homes with family is a luxury they will not experience this year. Poverty and homelessness can mean spending this special time of year in a shelter or on the streets. This year, however, 54 families who were once homeless will have a place to call “home for the holidays” thanks to Hope House’s Safe Landing program.
For Martha, who has lived in her new apartment since May, living on her own means independence and privacy for her and her two children. When Martha left a homeless shelter for domestic violence victims in California, she and her daughter were ready to live independently – not in shelter or temporary housing. After coming to Milwaukee, Martha was accepted in Hope House’s Safe Landing program and was able to find an apartment for her family.
“Having my own apartment has made a big difference in my life, “she said. “Being able to live with my kids and provide for them is very important to me.”
Participants in the Safe Landing program choose an apartment that meets their needs based on their family size and monthly rent requirements. Once they sign a lease, Hope House helps subsidize their rent payments for up to a year. While they are receiving the subsidy, clients work with a case manager to help find or increase employment income, develop life skills and gain independence. Hope House’s goal is to set families up to be independent and remain housed after they complete the program – a goal that’s expected to be achieved by almost 70 percent of participants.
For many of our families, this is the first holiday season they will spend in their new homes.
“I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with my kids, eating dinner,” Martha said. “I’m doing as much as I can to make the holidays fun for them. My daughter and I have been through a lot together, and I want to make it special for her.”
Thanks to Martha’s strength and determination and some help from Hope House, she will spend her holiday celebrating with her children in their own apartment.
What does that mean to her?
“It’s a blessing,” she said. “It’s a blessing that I hope will lead to even more opportunities for me.”