Homeless, then a House and then a Home!

I arrived in Houston in August of 2002. Prior to that time, I was successfully employed as a professional educator and trainer in the state of Washington; the proud recipient joseph photoof 2 graduate university degrees and a proud father and grandfather. My world turned upside down after I suffered a major health challenge. I was not able to work, and had to rely on state welfare and on disability income. Most of my family lived in Houston, so I migrated to Texas to live with family and continue my medical recovery. More unfortunate circumstances came my way with a death in the family and the loss of resources I was counting on to start my recovery. While living with a friend who offered the generosity of his home for a short time, I realized I was just a friend away from homelessness.

My desperate conditions began to turn around when I was referred to Easter Seals Greater Houston and the Home of Your Own Program. My Housing Coordinator gave me confidence that after a brief period of financial literacy training and increasing my credit score, I could buy a home of my own! I was diligent about my studies and work. Easter Seals assisted me in securing funds for the down payment, making a house more affordable. I was truly blessed to receive down payment assistance funds to help in my house purchase.

In 2010 I purchased a small house in a Houston Hope neighborhood with a house payment I could afford. My blessings continued as I learned Easter Seals was an AmeriCorps participant and I could become part of this program. I worked part-time at Easter Seals in the same program which helped me so greatly! The AmeriCorps program ended after one year. Just after that, I was offered a part-time Financial Coach position in the Home of Your Own Program. I was thrilled with this opportunity to give back and to help others pull themselves out of the grip of homelessness and despair. Easter Seals has a culture of acceptance and nurturing, and they welcomed me with open arms to their Easter Seals home. I went from Homelessness to a House of my own to my Easter Seals Home.

By Joseph Bowman, Easter Seals Greater Houston Housing Coordinator, Home of Your Own

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