From Homeless to Homebuyer
Towards the end of Jeff's eight-year incarceration, he made a commitment to himself. Jeff would not be returning to prison, and he would not be homeless ever again.
Having met with counselors while incarcerated, Jeff was well aware of the waiting lists for housing in Seattle upon release. Jeff read a brochure on Pioneer Human Services in the counselor’s office, and enrolled at FareStart, a culinary training program serving marginalized people in King County. He had employment, but found himself without a place to live because of his criminal history. His co-workers shared their experiences living in Pioneer housing, and Jeff submitted an application for Pioneer’s transitional housing. When asked what his first impression of Pioneer was, Jeff exclaimed, "I was grateful that this place was here for me!" He experienced the support of housing and case management teams, saying, "Anytime I had a question about anything, Pioneer staff was more than happy to answer all my questions and direct me the right way; it's been very helpful."
Moving in was just the first chapter. Immediately after becoming a resident of Pioneer, Jeff began to see other goals in his life that he wanted to work towards. During his residency, he enjoyed having his own place to come home to, and recognized the importance of maintaining stable housing going forward. He focused on his job, and has retained work with the same employer for over two years, working hard and saving his money. Jeff even sought out information about how he could improve his credit score and obtained a credit card.
As he reflects on his struggles, Jeff notes, "The memory of my past negative choices is what is keeping me going forward. I know where bad choices can lead me, and I don't want to go there again. Pushing forward every day, despite having struggles, and getting through them - it's all about determination and knowing I'm worth it." Jeff’s sense of pride now continues to build and motivate him.
After a term in transitional housing, Jeff moved into a permanent unit within Pioneer housing. With the same determination and focus on goals, he asked himself, "What's next?" That is when Jeff decided to look into becoming a home-buyer! He knew that real estate was a great investment and he attended a workshop for “first-time home-buyers.” After contacting a realtor through a home mortgage firm, it wasn't long before Jeff put a bid in on a house.
Through his efforts to improve his credit score, Jeff was qualified for a home loan. His hard earned savings that had been building up went towards paying for the required down-payment. Buying a home is exciting, and it can also be very expensive. Since he enrolled in case management services with our Client and Community Services, Pioneer was able to assist Jeff with payment for the inspection of the house - thanks to generous donations from the community members who want to help people like Jeff take an ambitious step to improve their lives.
Today, Jeff is grateful to be where he is and confident about his future. He believes that the skills he learned through counseling have helped him to combat the stresses of life and have prevented him from turning to drinking and drugs when troubles arise. Jeff understands that old behaviors can set him back to where he used to be, and he has made the choice to act differently long-term. When asked about his expectations for the future, Jeff said, "I'll be saving next to get a 2018 Dodge Challenger! However, I am putting that on hold while I make plans for landscaping the property around my new home. The possibilities are limitless."
Officially, Jeff's probation ends in less than a month. Jeff says that this means he will have "more freedom to make positive choices and make my own decisions." Pioneer is proud of Jeff and the new life he has diligently pursued. To others re-entering from incarceration, Jeff says, "Every day is a new chapter - keep pushing forward."