It Can Happen to Anyone – Jerome’s Story
Working to achieve stability while experiencing homelessness can often feel like a full-time job. Meet one Impact NW client whose persistence and determination helped him succeed.
“I was embarrassed and ashamed. Nobody around me knew I was homeless, so nobody could help me,” said Jerome, a US Army & Air Force veteran and single dad. Jerome came to Impact NW after a series of unexpected life events led him facing homelessness.
“It started from me exiting me the military, being married, to separation that led to a divorce,” said Jerome. “It kind of set me in stressful living conditions. I was renting a room for awhile, and then I ended up in my car.”
He struggled to find stable employment working in the tech industry or affordable housing for himself and his five children. He worked odd jobs in security and lived out of his car, spending time with his kids at city parks whenever he could.During this time, Jerome found the safety net and housing support systems difficult to navigate, even for someone so determined, upbeat, and persistent. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.
A Tough Journey to Success
“In our society, we tend to place the responsibility of being in poverty upon the individual, and not the systems that create this poverty,” says Deanna Dalton, Housing Program Supervisor at Impact NW.
Jerome was passed through several Portland-area services before being referred to Impact NW’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. His case manager, Malia Lewis, supported him through the long and often emotionally exhausting process of finding resources, including a home that met his wants and needs.
“Malia helped connect me with gas cards for gas, to get to school and to the program. And also food charities, clothing, grants to better my employment. A lot of opportunities came through Impact NW,” said Jerome.
“Jerome has been a phenomenal example of a client I have learned so much from. He has been a tireless, resilient, absolute joy in the process of encountering these brick walls that should not have been erected in our society,” said Malia.
Months later, with an incredible amount of work and persistence, he has moved with his five children into transitional housing in East Portland and is striving to grow his career in tech support.
Honored at Impact NW’s Luncheon
Impact NW honored Jerome’s incredible perseverance at the eighth annual Power of One Luncheon on February 28, 2018. This pivotal event gathers individuals, businesses, and organizations together to share inspiring stories of transformation and recognize champions of change.
Also honored at the luncheon honored the Impact Kit Committee, a group that helped launch a unique initiative to create resource kits for homeless Portlanders and provide funding to support Impact NW’s long-term efforts to break the cycle of homelessness.
Luncheon sponsors, including presenting sponsor Bank of America, joined over 350 guests, raising over $80,000 to help Impact NW build key programming geared toward promoting a prosperous and sustainable future for families like Jerome’s.
You can help us empower thousands more Portlanders who face homelessness or poverty. It’s as simple as sending a text message. Simply text inwpowerofone to 41444. You’ll receive a link where you can donate to Impact NW with your credit card or PayPal account.