Homeless, but not hopeless. This is Jaime’s favorite phrase, and with good reason. As I meet Jaime I’m quickly struck by his determination, strength and eloquence; it’s a humble reminder that homelessness does not define who you are. Jaime speaks to me about his struggle to heal the wounds of domestic violence and to overcome homelessness. Where he once grappled with the stigma of being a male victim of domestic violence, he now states that with the help of Raphael House he feels empowered and is filled with hope for a better future for himself and his three-year-old son Mateo. When Jaime came to Raphael House he lacked the support of friends and family, many of whom could not understand how he came to be a victim of domestic violence. Raphael House, however, provided Jaime and his son the safe, warm, and family-friendly community they needed to begin to heal and focus on their goals. Through weekly meetings with his case manager, Jaime learned how to prioritize his spending and create a savings plan. Within ten weeks Jaime and his son moved into their own place. To help them with the transition into their new home, Raphael House provided the family a one-time Housing Opportunity Assistance grant to put toward emergency savings—an important component in ensuring financial stability and a secure future. Jaime has since successfully taken over the entire rent and is proud of his financial independence. He continues to stay connected through our Bridge Program, and although he states that Raphael House is part of his past, he’s decided to make it part of his life: I now have peace within myself—knowing that I have taken the steps to give my son a stable home and the life that he deserves. I’m proud that my son has a comfortable, safe place to call home. Every morning as we get ready for the day he tells me: “Dad, you’re going to work and I’m going to school.” This simple statement reminds me of how far we’ve come and energizes me to continue to focus on our future. You have no way to really know how much you’ve helped us, but let me try: you helped us to become successful, to reorganize our lives, to look at our goals, to dream, and to start to walk through life independently. You gave us that little push to advance past our traumatic histories, to start over. We can now achieve our dreams and reach our goals.
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