Last Monday, Giving Hope experienced something new. The story of one of our amazing clients, Stephen, brought attention to our organization we have never known before. This beloved individual in our community brought an outpouring of love and generosity that, true to our name, gave us hope. Stephen is an extremely intelligent and kind individual who has touched the hearts of so many, and we wanted to make sure to share his full story here.
Stephen has been living in homelessness for years. And for years, Stephen has consistently and politely declined offers of assistance from the Denton community. A very proud and selfless individual, he did not feel comfortable accepting the help offered him. Giving Hope case managers persisted in establishing a relationship with him. After years of visits, chats, and even shared subway sandwich lunches with one of Denton PD Street Outreach Officers, we cultivated an important sense of trust with Stephen. Wendy Noble, our Street Outreach Case Manager, explains that this is really what the job is about. Whether Giving Hope employees are at the office or outside of work hours, “going beyond the basic responsibilities of our day to day work ” she says, “is what truly makes the difference.”
We wanted Stephen to know that if and when he did need us, we were there. We knew that when the time was right, Stephen would ask for what he needed. In late February, at the onset of the COVID 19 crisis, Wendy spoke with Stephen, hoping to provide him hand sanitizer and masks to stay safe and healthy during this time. She gave him our business card in the hopes that he would reach out if an issue arose.
It was six months later when Stephen walked in the doors of Giving Hope carrying our business card. He had decided the time was right, and we were there to help him however he needed.
Stephen was ready to find housing, and we got him started right away. Within a week, his housing was approved, and he was set to move in. Stephen has not accepted any financial assistance from Giving Hope. But after more than ten years, he has a home. Stephen reached out to Giving Hope after being encouraged to contact us by Brandy Coty, the executive director of Zoie’s Place. The process of housing Stephen was successful thanks to this organization, Grace Like Rain, Vision Ministries, First Refuge Ministries, and Denton Community Food Center. The partnership of these amazing organizations is what makes the impossible possible, and the reason Giving Hope is grateful to be a part of Serve Denton. Giving Hope still reaches out to Stephen on a consistent basis to provide him with any resources or assistance he may need. This constant contact and relationship is the most essential element of our organization, and it allows us to achieve solutions for individuals of diverse needs and situations.
This story highlights one of those many situations, and outlines the difference our Street Outreach program can make. One of four Giving Hope Programs, Street Outreach works to locate individuals who are unaware of, or unable to access our services themselves. This program is deeply important, as it meets each individual where they are. Once we make contact with these individuals, we conduct a Coordinated Entry Assessment. This assessment gains an idea of what an individual’s needs are, and helps to determine which housing intervention is most recommended for them.
When housing an individual, Giving Hope wants to focus not just simply on putting a roof over their head, but equipping them with all of the necessary knowledge, resources, and services needed to be successful in their home long term. Homelessness is not a simple matter, and cannot be addressed as such. Giving Hope tailors our approach to every individual we work with to ensure their needs are appropriately met and empower them with a foundation for success. With Stephen, we did not provide financial aid, but we assisted him in what was important to him: finding a home.
When asked what people can do to help, Wendy Noble explains “it would be helpful if we had people to donate funds to get all the necessities that make a house a home”. Simple items such as beds, furniture, plates, toilet paper, and towels make these individuals feel comfortable in their new home amid a major transition in their life. Noble also explains that through financial donations, Giving Hope is able to provide for their clients on a case by case basis, and fulfill whatever needs may arise. “Rather than saying, these are the towels you get, and here is the bedding you get, we can get them black towels if their bathroom is black or blue bedding if it is their favorite color.” Sometimes it is really the little things that go a long way. Our case managers truly care about the work we do and the individuals we work with, and this passion is visible in the lives we touch. This would not be possible without our generous donors and volunteers, and we cannot tell you how grateful we are for you. Such care and love that our employees pour into the clients we serve, and such an awe inspiring generosity from our community, will forever give us hope.
Stephen’s story illustrates a key point our Executive Director, Tyheshia Scott, hopes to remind the public: there are many faces to homelessness. Homelessness and the situations of individuals experiencing homelessness are often not what you might expect. It looks different for everyone. With such an outpouring of generosity, and so many community members inquiring about how to help, we wanted to remind you that you are helping so many with diverse and unique stories. If you would like to help amazing individuals like Stephen in their move in process, donate to Giving Hope here, or reach out directly to shelly’s email to see what items we currently need.
Finally, If you would like to send words of encouragement to Stephen please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “A Note for Stephen” in the subject.