Meet the resilient.
Community Housing Network meets each resident where they are, so we can help them get where they want to go. And while the journey is different for each person, it always starts with home.
These are the stories of just a few people who call a CHN property home:
Courtney started drinking as a teenager. She dropped out of college and continued drinking into adulthood. It wasn’t until reached her 30s that she decided to seek help, not only for herself, but also for her children. After going to rehab, Courtney and her three children moved into Amethyst supportive housing, an Alvis recovery program for single women with a family-centered approach to healing. She remembers thinking, “If I can’t bring my kids to treatment, I’m not gonna come.”
Her time at Amethyst was an important step forward, but Courtney knew she needed permanent, independent housing where she could continue to grow with supportive services in place. Courtney and her children moved into their CHN apartment in 2017 and continue to thrive. The “mother hen” of the building, Courtney is always there to help her neighbors and even started a support group.
Now, 20 years after her battle with alcoholism began, Courtney is back in college and on track to graduate with a degree in Social Work from Ohio State University in May of 2023. She hopes to one day open a sober-living building where women can bring their kids, like the one that made her own recovery possible.
Michael first experienced homelessness when he was abandoned by his family at 12 years old. Throughout his youth and into adulthood, he lacked stable housing. He bounced from place to place, staying with family, friends, and the YMCA. As a young adult, he hitchhiked around the country. In 1988, he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a terrible accident. Upon leaving the hospital, he again found himself without a home, and like many who suffer a TBI, experienced depression and self-medicated to find relief.
Michael found reliable housing around 2000 and maintained it until 2019 when he moved to Columbus. Unfortunately, his Columbus housing fell through, and he became homeless right before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Michael spent almost two years living on the porch of an abandoned house before he was introduced to CHN.
Michael didn’t just find stable housing with CHN, but also real help from on-site engagement specialists for issues related to his physical, mental and emotional health. He enjoys creating art in his apartment and appreciates having large windows that let in natural light. When he isn’t working on his art, Michael volunteers on multiple boards and committees at organizations, and organizations such as NAMI, MakeADay Foundation and The Traumatic Brain Injury Association of Ohio and speaking about issues related to TBI, learning disabilities, criminal justice, substance abuse, homelessness and mental illness at conferences throughout Ohio and beyond. He is dedicated to helping others by sharing both his story and his art to raise awareness about TBI, substance abuse, and homelessness. With support from the Brain Injury Association of Ohio, Michael is putting together a local support group for people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. If you are interested in joining or learning more about this TBI support group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bashir is a native Somalian. He was a first-hand witness to the brutalities of genocide that ravaged the land. His family suffered great acts of violence and he knew that it was time to leave. He hoped that he would find a better life and decided to relocate to the United States in 1999. Coming to the U.S., he encountered a whole new set of problems, as he did not have any family or friends here.
Bashir found himself homeless in 2015. During his time homeless, he encountered many adverse situations that he was forced to overcome, such as a brutal mugging that put him in the hospital. With the help of his shelter case manager, he was connected with CHN in the fall of 2017 and was able to quickly move into his new apartment on October 2, 2017.
Bashir is very thankful for being connected with CHN and for his new home. He demonstrates this thankfulness by doing things around the complex such as picking up and taking care of his apartment and the surrounding area. He spends his time mostly interacting and visiting with other residents and maintaining his home every day. Since the pandemic began, he has found the on-site services to be absolutely invaluable in his efforts to maintain a personal quarantine so as to keep himself and other residents safe. He maintains a close relationship with the on-site case manager.
-By CHN Board Member Brandon Guisinger
When she first met her CHN service coordinator, Sheila was struggling—with drug addiction, health issues, paying rent, and finding food. Sheila’s untreated addiction had led to her losing her job, a crushing blow in anyone’s life. Her circumstances, and mental and physical health, were all suffering. She needed some support to get back on her feet.
A resident at CHN’s Inglewood Court, Sheila was connected with an on-site service coordinator as soon as she signed her lease. Together they figured out a plan and began to address each issue, one by one. First, a revised resume that enabled Sheila to apply for local job opportunities. Second, obtaining food assistance benefits and health insurance so Sheila could access proper nutrition and care. Third, connecting Sheila to AA so she could work on her sobriety. Finally, receiving a rent reduction to make monthly payments affordable. Every step of the way, the service coordinator served as Sheila’s safety net and support system, reminding her of her innate resilience, connecting her to useful resources, and helping her achieve stability.
Today, Sheila is not only steadily employed full-time, she’s even putting some of her earnings away for the future. With medical insurance and addiction services, she’s been able to improve her physical and mental health, and achieve sobriety. After going through her own traumas, Sheila now shares her hard-won confidence and positivity by providing peer support to other residents in her building.
The first thing one notices about Fletcher is his huge smile. The second is his exuberant laugh. “I am personality,” he declares with a chuckle.
Fletcher has lived at CHN’s Briggsdale property since it opened in 2006—he likes to describe himself as “the OG” of the building. In more than a decade of residency, he has transformed his apartment into a home full of character and cheer. He shows off the antique table and rug that once occupied his grandma’s house, and loves to talk about his latest vintage finds.
Fletcher’s demeanor belies the hard work he’s put into healing. With ongoing care and therapy, he’s been able to manage his anxiety and depression. Along with faith and optimism, gratitude keeps him stable and moving forward. “I feel very fortunate to have been helped and to have grown,” he says.
In our 30+ years, Community Housing Network has built more than housing. We’ve built a model that affirms the resiliency and resourcefulness of each individual we serve. We’ve built a network of expert support providers ready to fill every need. And most of all, we’ve opened countless doors for residents to build meaningful, purposeful lives.
We know that what we do works. We see it in residents who call a CHN building home for many years—and in those who leave CHN ready to rent or buy on their own. We see it in those who’ve broken the cycle of domestic abuse—and in those who nurture healthy kids in our family units. We see it in everyone who stands a little taller because they know they have solid ground beneath their feet and support by their side.
Between 2015 and 2020, an average of 96% of CHN residents maintained permanent housing, and 98% of those who moved out did not return to homelessness.