Unhoused to Home: Community Makes It Happen

Ilena Lee and Barbara Hunter-Geer

Ilena Lee and Barbara Hunter-Geer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 16, 2022 (Greenville, SC) –
ONE eviction is all it takes to change a life. Ms. Lee and her children, 3 and 6 years old, were on the streets after an eviction. Ms. Lee, is a single, working mom, sharing an apartment with a friend. When the friend committed a lease violation, an eviction was filed, and they were all on the streets.

How do you begin to rebuild your life with two children in tow? She and her children were forced to stay with friends, but they longed for a home of their own. After attempting to connect to resources on her own to no avail, Ms. Lee contacted her childrens’ school for help. She was directed to the schools’ McKinney -Vento liaison. McKinney-Vento is a federal law created to support the enrollment and education of homeless students. The liaison referred her to UHC’s Home Again program.

The Greenville area offers few affordable housing options for individuals and families with evictions. The Home Again program is an option. The program is designed to benefit moderate income tenants while providing case management, along with an incentive program to encourage maximum housing stability and self-sufficiency. Clients work closely with a case manager to help establish a plan for self-sufficiency, which may include homeownership.

Ms. Lee’s personal perseverance, determination, and motivation to provide a better life for her children propelled her efforts to seek something new. Moving from homelessness to housing requires a mindset shift. Barbara Hunter-Geer, the Home Again case manager, assisted Ms. Lee by providing life skills training, day care resources, financial coaching, employment training and assisting her to address other barriers to housing instability. Programs like Home Again are successful due to collaboration with landlords and UHC-owned available affordable housing rental units.

Ms. Lee’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PGIZ_pZwgY

The United Way of Greenville, the Greenville Housing Fund, and TD Bank assist to fund the program. In addition, UHC received the lot the house is built on through the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) and received a no interest loan in partnership with the City of Greenville which restricts the property as affordable for 50 years.

You can help UHC house more people in our community by providing affordable rental units, donating funds to support families or by volunteering at www.unitedhousingconnections.org.

About United Housing Connections: United Housing Connections (UHC) is where compassion meets action. UHC is a nonprofit organization that connects people at-risk for or currently experiencing homelessness with safe, sustainable, and affordable homes. They work to promote and preserve the dignity and quality of life for all citizens in Upstate, South Carolina.

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