Meet Joe, a St. Francis House guest with a home

Joe Burton and his case manager, Vinnie Perryman

 Joe checks a document during a recent appointment at St. Francis House with his case manager, Vinnie.

Many do not realize that 25% of our guests each year are not homeless.

Some of our housed guests first came to St. Francis House while experiencing homelessness but, as Joe’s story shows, continue to return for holistic supportive services after finding a place to call home.

The turning moment

While experiencing homelessness for 20 years, Joe had been struggling through extremely long waiting lists and complicatedly extensive housing applications for 14 years. He came in one day, and said to his case manager, Vinnie, “I’m tired for being homeless”.  Vinnie worked with other St. Francis House staff to get Joe onto the attendance list for a scheduled housing surge.

Joe shares, “I knew I didn’t really want to stay homeless and put my mind to it. Gave up drinking, as I couldn’t just give up [on making progress].”

Finding a home

Joe and Vinnie, his case manager, went to the housing surge together.  A housing surge is a daylong event at one facility where representatives from different government and community organizations meet with homeless individuals to complete the documentation and forms necessary for a successful housing application.

Joe was the first one that day assigned a voucher and matched with an apartment! He was one of the lucky few. Joe got to celebrate his birthday, Christmas, and New Years all in his new apartment. “That made me feel real good! I’m really grateful to them.” 

Because Joe determinedly stayed focused, he was able to make this happen.

“I don’t know how I did this for so long. I needed a roof over my head. I knew I could, I just needed to find a way to do it [and find an apartment]. Now the pressure [of being homeless] is over. I have peace of mind, can keep out of trouble, and enjoy my own apartment.”

Joe is already dreaming bigger things for his future.

“I’m just really thankful. I now want an apartment bigger and better to move on to.  My two kids now can visit. I have my privacy, my own keys to my own place. I’m so proud that Vinnie and St. Francis House stuck with me. People trust me, listen to me, pay attention to me because I stay clean, dress nice, and am warm in my apartment.”

“St. Francis House can help you – they helped me. This is why I come back to St. Francis House.”

Joe continues to hold appointments with his case manager, Vinnie, returning to St. Francis House for visits from his apartment. Housed individuals often rely on our basic services, such as the fresh and nutritious meals in our dining room, or clothing from Fresh Threads, as essential resources to help make ends meet. In helping our guests stretch their personal budgets, we strengthen their ability to remain housed.

“I’m so proud of my apartment, and thankful that I can still come back to St. Francis House to talk to case managers. Honest to god, the reason I keep coming back [to St. Francis House] is because of the staff.”

Here at St. Francis House, we recognize that each guest’s pathway to stability is uniquely defined by their own circumstances and needs, and serve them as such. Our programs and services all overlap and build on one another using a holistic approach to understanding and addressing behavioral health, housing, and employment needs.