Street to Home 2/17/17

parallax background
United Way works with housing and assessment partners to assist in increasing access to housing and services in an effort to end homelessness in Greater Atlanta . Partner agencies provide housing and case management to help people achieve long term housing stability and self sufficiency.
Two RentPath employees, Keisa McGrew and Rabia Jalil, along with about 25 volunteers (individuals from the community and various corporate groups) hit the streets of downtown Atlanta at 5 am.
Their efforts resulted in getting 9 men and 1 woman directly off the streets of Atlanta where these individuals will take part in individualized plans of action while remaining in shared apartments with other program participants.
Street to Home serves more than 500 people per year with more than 75% of individuals remaining in permanent housing.

Pictured Above: Kinte Rollins, CEO, Change a Moment, Change a Life | Keisa McGrew, Quality Assurance Analyst | Rabia Jalil, Level II Concierge | Protip Biswas, Vice President, Homelessness & Place Based Initiatives / Regional Commission on Homelessness, The United Way

I’ve had the pleasure of attending this event 4 times and each time seems to become more rewarding than the previous one. When my alarm went off at 4:04 am, I wanted to throw my phone across the room. I had managed to remove the covers woke up feeling cold. “Next time”, I said as I began to bargain with my half asleep self. “I’m going back to bed!” Just then I remembered I was sleeping in my own bed, in my own home and I immediately got out of bed because there are people sleeping on the ground and I can directly assist in getting someone off the street.

We hit the pavement at 5 o’clock am and I immediately came upon Byron. I woke him up and asked him if he wanted to get onto the bus and into a shared apartment- not a shelter. He woke up and looked at me. He immediately began to tell his story. He is a skilled truck driver but has a medical condition that does not allow him to do the one thing he’s been doing for years, making a good living for himself. His pride and dignity were still intact and all he was interested in doing was explaining how he has never been a man to ask for a hand-out.

What convinced him to get on that bus was not the idea of having a bed,it was having someone listen to him and give him eye contact. You’ll be surprised how many homeless individuals yearn for someone to look them in the eyes while they speak to them.

This morning, we were able to get 10 souls: 9 men and 1 woman, directly off the street.

The one takeaway this experience always fortifies in me is gratitude. When I departed this event, I remembered a quote from a book I read by Eckhart Tolle.

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."

Rabia Jalil | Level II RentPath Concierge

This was our 4th outreach. It was fulfilling as always to assist in finding permanent homes for those in need, and there are new lessons to be learned each time. We spent a bit more time walking in order to fill the bus with 10 spaces, and I'm learning to consider why this is not always an easy decision for people to make. Many of them found themselves homeless because they've lacked a support system to help at their lowest points; waking someone up at 5:30am and convincing them to get on a bus is a more than a bit scary. What is most important is sitting down and LISTENING, and building a rapport that will allow them to consider that there are still people that can be trusted and want to help. Words truly can't express how proud I am that Rentpath has made this our mission.

Keisa McGrew | Quality Assurance Analyst