Moving from homelessness to stability and a better life

HELPING HANDS: Michelle, center, hugs one of the members of Western Carolina University’s IT department, who helped move her into her new home through Homeward Bound’s Sponsored Move-In program. Photo courtesy of Homeward Bound of WNC

Editor’s note: As part of Xpress’ Nonprofit Issue, we asked local nonprofits to share a bright moment of 2017.

Homeward Bound is ending homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County by moving individuals and families into housing and providing the support they need to stay there permanently. With the help of the community, Homeward Bound has found homes for more than 1,840 people, and 89 percent have not returned to homelessness.

Our brightest moment is when we move someone out of homelessness and their life changes for the better. Michelle is a great example of this.

When Homeward Bound’s Room in the Inn coordinator Sharon Blythe met Michelle, she was sleeping in her storage unit, cold and terrified. With very little family support, Michelle relied on drugs and bad relationships to numb her feelings, and she ultimately became a victim of severe domestic violence.

Michelle joined Homeward Bound’s Room in the Inn program in January 2016, and through case management support, she learned how to overcome her challenges and gained skills and confidence. She attended school to become a peer support specialist. Michelle moved into her home in April 2017 with the help of the Western Carolina University’s IT department through Homeward Bound’s Sponsored Move-In program.

Michelle found a new life through the stability of having a home and a fulfilling job. She now is helping others overcome similar life challenges as a peer support specialist. Michelle works with her Homeward Bound case manager regularly and is an active and engaged member of the community.

— Eleanor Ashton, director of resource development,
Homeward Bound of WNC


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