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 boards and committees at NAMI, MakeADay Foundation, and The Traumatic Brain Injury Association of Ohio. He also speaks 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.
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.
Rhonda spent almost 20 years in the system, bouncing around from group homes, to foster homes, and ultimately to the streets. With a young son and twins on the way, she was determined to give her children something she never had - a stable home. Her journey started when she found temporary housing through Huckleberry House and she was introduced to CHN in 2006.
When she received the call that CHN had an apartment for her, Rhonda was in the hospital after giving birth to her twins. When she was ready, CHN ensured Rhonda and her children had a safe place to call home.
Their CHN home was more than just an apartment. On-site service providers worked with Rhonda to make sure her family’s needs were met, helped her address serious mental health concerns, and assisted her in earning her GED. She went on to earn an associate degree from Columbus State and is now training to become a registered nurse.
After 16 years and a lot of hard work, Rhonda left CHN housing and became a first-time homeowner. We are so proud of Rhonda and honored to be part of her story.
As a child, Ayaan, her father, and her five siblings immigrated to the U.S. Adjusting to a new country and different culture was especially difficult for the young girl without her mother, who stayed behind in Somalia.
She was eager to fit in and got involved with a bad crowd. Her relationship with her father was strained. When she became pregnant at 17, she was on her own. With nobody to turn to and nowhere to go, she knew she could not provide a good life for her daughter. Although it broke her heart, she gave up custody and turned to alcohol to cope.
She later ended in an abusive relationship and had twin daughters. She did not want to raise children in such a dangerous environment and made the difficult decision to allow her sister to raise them. Ayaan found the strength to leave her abuser but unfortunately, she was unable to get her identification and her immigration documentation from him. This made it impossible to find a job or housing, but as she explained, “When you’re worried about where to lay your head at night, you’re not worried about things like immigration or getting a job.”
She stayed in a women’s shelter for a while, but ultimately ended up homeless. She sometimes committed petty crimes with the intention of getting arrested because she knew she would be safer in jail than on the street. Eventually, police took her to Twin Valley Behavioral Health Center. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and now reflects that she used alcohol to self-medicate.
Ayaan joined AA and worked through the steps with her sponsor. She stayed in an in-patient recovery house run by North Central Mental Health Services (NCMH), where she still participates in group and individual counseling. Ayaan moved into CHN independent housing in 2021.
With support from her CHN Supportive Housing Coordinator, Simona, and NCMH, she has maintained sobriety and turned her life around. She received help to reapply for immigration, received her green card, then became a U.S. citizen. She earned her GED and has held a steady job for 5 years, but she’s working toward a career in phlebotomy. She got her driver’s license and bought a car. She was able to reconnect with her father before he passed away and is working on rebuilding relationships with her sister and children. While she is proud of these incredible accomplishments, she is most proud of her sobriety and says that without that, she wouldn’t have anything else.
Ayaan is learning to manage her money, and with Simona’s help she is taking steps toward becoming a homeowner. She looks forward to owning her own home – one she hopes to someday leave to her children.
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.