Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Note of Thanks from a Graduate

I wanted to write this letter to simply say Thank You!

After two years of sleeping on floors, staying house-to-house, moving in different shelters, and spending every bit of money I had on hotel rooms just for some type of peace - I got to wake up today in my own home! This testimony of mine has really been a journey for me and my babies and I am so thankful for this program. I really don’t know where I’d be right now if you all didn’t have the faith in me to give me a second chance to stand where I am right now.

I was really broken and when I got into Community LINC so many doors had been slammed in my face and I had been let down so much that I was truly and honestly at the point of giving up because I couldn’t understand: “why me?”

I have so many stories but one that stands out the most to me is giving birth to Zion, my son. I couldn’t even be happy. It was hard to smile.  It was so hard to even be happy. God blessed me with this beautiful baby boy and I knew once we stepped out of that hospital that I had nowhere to take my baby. I cried myself to sleep every single night because I knew I had to take my newborn to a shelter. I will NEVER forget how I felt and I will never forget all the things I went through leading up to now!

At that point I was done and I wanted to give up. It’s like knowing you have the ability to climb that ladder but the foundation you’re standing on isn’t sturdy enough to hold you still, so no matter how hard you continue to try you still are getting knocked over. After all the bruises, scrapes and cuts, you all handed me that ladder and held it for me. Although the foundation was still a little rocky, I was able to climb out of that hole that’s had me trapped for so long! And I am beyond thankful.

I know that everybody has a story and everyone coming into this program is battling something. You guys are truly Gods workers and you are truly amazing. You ladies have worked with me and been the most help I have had throughout this whole two-year journey. And I don’t have enough words to even begin to say THANK YOU!
I came into this program with nothing but a bag and was able to leave with so much more.

I hope this letter reaches every last one of you and once again thank you all for blessing me and my babies. It has truly been a pleasure being in the presence of angels. Thank you!!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

A New Start

By Alicia Horton, Mobile Assessment Worker

Bree, a single, working mother and her children have lived without a home for the past 3 months, due to a few unfortunate events. When they first became homeless, the family stayed with whoever would let them. We call this house hopping or couch surfing. The family would sleep on the floor or on a couch. They lived with constant fear of being asked to leave, and any sense of freedom or privacy was lost.  After wearing out their welcome with family and friends, the family ended up sleeping in their car until they were able to find temporary housing in an emergency shelter.

After a few days at the shelter, Bree’s caseworker referred her to Community LINC.  I called to schedule an intake screening. Since she’s a full-time employee working 9 to 5pm, I agreed to meet with her at her place of employment. One of the great opportunities at Community LINC is that we can meet family’s right where they are, reducing the stress of having to make arrangements for transportation or take time off work.

The family is now in the processing of being housed with Community LINC! This is a great start to the family’s journey to being self-sufficient again.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Keep Pushing Forward

By Employment Job Coach Constance Taylor

When Ms. Joiner shared that her job was moving to another state, I searched for the right words to say.  I knew how hard this young lady had worked to secure position. The hourly wage was sufficient for permanent housing. She had just purchased a truck. The kids were all in daycare and the daycare payment fit her budget. How could this be happening? Not right now!

Ms. Joiner had just been approved for her new home. The income from her job allowed her to become self–sufficient.  She was now faced with no income. I assured her everything would be okay and reminded her that with her motivation and tenacity she would have another job very soon, “You just wait and see.” 

As we talked, I learned more about her dream job, and what type of career would inspire her. Although she never complained, she did tell me that the last job was only a stepping stone to where she wanted to be. She needed her high school diploma to move forward. She just didn’t have the time to devote to improving her education; her priority was having the income necessary to providing a home for her five children.  She also shared her desire to reinstate her Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) license so that she could go back to taking care of people who were unable to care for themselves. At that moment I reflected back on the day she came to Community LINC.  She maneuvered with the twins in a double stroller and another young child walking alongside her. Each child was intently listening and following her instructions.  She was a natural nurturer and helping her reinstate her CNA was the way to get her back on track. We located the funds to pay for the license and she quickly registered for an upcoming test. Within a few weeks, she received her certificate and was on her way. She networked with some people in the healthcare field and was hired very quickly.

Ms. Joiner enjoys her new job and is excited about the benefits that include transportation to work if she ever needs it.  Recently, she was offered an opportunity for a paid training course to become a Certified Medical Technician. If successful, she’ll increase her salary. She works manyof her off days and just secured part-time employment with another company on the weekends.

Ms. Joiner is a perfect example of what it means to keep pushing forward.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Beginning

By Victoria Jonas, CTI Case Manager

The New Year has given me cause to reflect back on my first few months as a Case Manager at Community LINC. Once client in particular stands out for me.

In November, Community LINC helped a young mother and her beautiful baby boy move into their first apartment. This client was able to find housing before her scheduled exit date. She is now employed full time as a security guard and really enjoys her job. Her employment allows her to pay fair market value for her apartment.

This client struggled with homelessness and “couch surfing” for two years due to her poor family dynamics and her mother’s ongoing substance abuse issues. She gave birth to her son during her homelessness. However, throughout her stay at Community LINC, she displayed great connection and parenting skills toward her son.

The week that the client moved to her own apartment, she was able to take her son to get a professional photograph taken. She was so proud to show them off to all of the program staff.

It was very humbling to work with this family as a new CTI-Case Manager and watch her become self-sufficient. I look forward to working with her during aftercare and watching her continue to grow.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


By Holly Gardner, Intake and Resident Specialist

The staff here at Community LINC are just wrapping up our Christmas holiday time period.  What an exciting time to be part of this team! Christmas impacts all of us in very different ways but one thing we do have in common is enjoying the spirit of Christmas and it comes to us every year in many different forms. I have learned that it’s the unexpected and spontaneous acts of love that bless me the most and I do my best to stay aware of that on our busy days.

This year the highlight for me was moving six families into apartments and helping to coordinate Christmas adoptions so that the incoming families were connected with an adopting organization. It’s a huge effort to coordinate the organizations’ need to give and the families’ need for some sort of Christmas Day festivities. It’s a special challenge for those families moving in from shelters the month of December. Christmas can seem daunting as the parent(s) try to establish themselves in a new environment and meet their goals. It was an honor to be part of this process, to see the staff from adopting organizations coming to Community LINC with their gifts, always bright eyed, smiling and so very happy to know they are impacting people in such fun and positive ways. As I was home with my family, feeling very blessed and a little weary too, I couldn’t help but think about our families here at Community LINC. How their winter break was going and how many parents and bright-eyed children we had smiling on this Christmas day.

With a New Year full of new projects and new adventures, I recognize that soon enough the month of December will be back around with its challenges of coordinating the practical side of the holidays. I think on this with an uplifted spirit knowing that the true gifts will again be the unmeasurable ones.