September 17, 2021 | 5 min read
Mr. Boddie’s experience of homelessness began after he relocated to Chicago from Las Vegas in 2018. After having difficulty finding work, he decided to move into a shelter rather than become a burden to his family and face the social stigma of unemployment.
While staying in shelters, he learned about permanent supportive housing programs and committed himself to doing whatever it took to get housed as soon as possible. That’s when he was connected with a Facing Forward Housing Navigator.
Housing Navigators provide short-term case management services that help individuals and families experiencing homelessness access permanent housing opportunities. They provide guidance and support through the entire housing process, with services spanning from transportation assistance to interviewing techniques.
Here’s what Mr. Boddie had to say about his experience:
“Homelessness is a very lonely position. And especially with the pandemic, I felt so out of place, like I was too old for all of this.
From the initial phone call, we had an immediate connection. I explained to [my housing navigator] what was going on, where I was, and that I wasn’t happy. I was in a critical situation. I had been physically assaulted while I was in the shelter.
She came and she sat with me and told me the information I would need to get started. She worked with me and pointed me in the direction I needed to go. She met me places and truly went above and beyond. When I told her I had a medical condition so I can’t go upstairs, she worked with me to find a place that fit my needs.
To have that phone call where they said, “You’ve been approved for housing.” If you could understand the joy that was on my face… I wanted to go outside and shout it from the rooftop.
My experience felt very, very personal and I thank my navigator, because I don’t believe she had to do the things she did like call me back on Saturdays, and after work hours at 5 or 6 o’clock just to check on me. She treated me like family. She went above and beyond.
Facing Forward pointed me in the right direction and as you can see, I’m truly a happy man today. To have my own place now is the most wonderful feeling in the world. To know that someone can’t just come up to me on the street, look at me, and tell me to get out. To know I can just walk up to that refrigerator, open it up and choose whatever I want out of there and eat it without having anyone question me. That’s an amazing feeling. At the same time, I know this is a gift and I’m looking forward to taking care of it. Sweeping the floors, mopping, cleaning the bathroom. I know all that is part of it, and I look forward to it.
My goal now is to go to the dentist, go to the eye doctor, and find a doctor to help me manage my pain.
I’m grateful for the organization and everyone who has helped me. My advice to those who work with Navigators in the future is: you have to do the legwork, and be diligent, and have faith. Keep an open line of communication with your navigator and the rest falls into place.