Recently, the 100,000 Homes Initiative was adopted by Indianapolis and Trusted Mentors quickly jumped on board as a key partner. Our city is a proud participant in this national effort to house our most vulnerable homeless neighbors.
Every Tuesday, we attend a housing committee meeting at the Horizon House with multiple 1000,000 Homes partnering agencies serving the homeless population in our city. Every week, we hear the names and stories of chronically homeless men and women who now are being given the opportunity to move into an apartment of their own. What a great feeling it is to be a part of this national movement to move people out of homelessness!
Although our city has experienced success moving many of our homeless from streets and shelters into housing, we are seeing that the transition for many is proving to be a difficult one. The skills needed to help an individual survive on the streets are different from the skills needed to remain housed and/or employed. Developing new skills, such as time management, budgeting and being a good neighbor takes practice. These newly housed men and women need guidance and support as they deal with spiritual, emotional and social issues to include isolation and low self esteem.
The local 100,000 Homes Initiative views Trusted Mentors as a vital partner in combating homelessness because mentors help their mentees develop these new skills. Through a mentoring relationship, mentors help their formerly homeless mentees build social capital by helping them to form connections and to become integrated back into the community.
Take B.W.’s story of a “typical” mentee referral for Trusted Mentors. B.W. was referred to us by the Horizon Houses’ Pedigo Clinic. B.W. is a 53 year-old chronically homeless male with both mental and physical illness. When my intern and I sat down and spoke with him for an hour last week, we received an ear full about where B.W. sees his future going once he’s housed. B.W. has multiple interests to include a love for animals and a skill set in home rehab. B.W.’s primary goal is to give back to his local community as a volunteer and he sees a mentor as someone who can help him make these connections.
B.W. shared that depression and isolation have been a real issue for him since he lost his parents in 2011. He’s never been married and doesn’t have any children. He says that he doesn’t make friends easily, especially since he’s been in recovery and has stopped hanging around friends who use. B.W. is looking forward to developing a friendship with a mentor to improve his quality of life.
Since joining our local 100,000 homes initiative, Trusted Mentors has seen our homeless prevention mentee referrals almost double. Trusted Mentors and 100,000 homes believe that mentoring matters. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer mentor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website at www.trustedmentors.org. For more info on the national 100,000 Homes effort, visit these links. at www.cbsnews.com/60-minutes/ and http://www.cbsnews.com/news/anderson-cooper-how-i-see-homeless-people-now/.