Updated: Sep 5, 2022
This month we chatted with Dell, a long-time Housing Choice Voucher holder who lives with his 3 sons in Bend. In the spring his landlord decided to sell the home he had lived in for the last three years in Redmond, and he teamed up with Community Outreach Advocate Britta in the search to find a new rental.
Dell was no stranger to Thrive when he reached out to us this spring, after his landlord gave him notice to move. A little over three years ago Dell was in a similar situation, needing to find a home after his landlords decided to rent to their family instead. He had been renting the home using a Housing Choice Voucher for 11 years, and was alarmed at how much the rental landscape had changed in that time.
Dell, a former social worker himself, was familiar with the field of Central Oregon resources. As he was trying to brainstorm how to find a place, he spotted a list of support organizations. A few on the list were familiar to him from his years working in the field, but Thrive was new to him. He scheduled an appointment to meet with Sarah, our Executive Director (we were much smaller at that time in 2018!) to help with the search and application process.
Dell himself is a writer, with a prolific body of poetic works under his belt, so we will let Dell tell more of the story in his own words:
I found my experience [with Thrive] to be incredibly valuable and necessary for me to attain success in finding a place to move into. Sarah and I quickly resonated and were on the same page as she made me feel as if we were old friends and thus teaming up with her was a joy. She was very knowledgeable, kind, and supportive. She gave me confidence as this was turning into a stressful and worrisome process.
Together we walked through the process and I found success in getting a place through a property management company. It was extremely difficult as the owner of the company was a very tough and demanding person to try and work with. That experience, unfortunately, turned out to be a whole other chapter that could be told someday. But, again, my experience working with Sarah couldn't have gone better! I'll always be very appreciative of the support she gave to me!
Three and a half years later I found myself in a similar situation: in need of finding a new home, as the current owners of the place we were living were selling the home. After my experience with Thrive a few years earlier, I immediately set up meetings to seek support once again. After a few meetings with different Thrive representatives, I was finally connected to Britta and that was a godsend, to say the least! We immediately bonded and I felt comfortable and confident that she was going to help me get through this process once again. We spoke by phone many times and she worked hand-in-hand with me in trying to find a new home for my sons and me to move into.
It was an incredible challenge as this was a time following on the heels of the COVID outbreak, affected economy, and housing inflation. I had diligently searched for three and a half months trying to find a place and Britta could not have been more supportive and reassuring. There were days when I was getting quite worried and anxious as the clock was ticking and Britta really helped me to keep it together. I used to tease that she was my housing counselor, although there was much truth to this! She provided great guidance and support that I'll always be grateful for! I realize that without her support we would have ended up in a full-blown crisis teetering on homelessness. So, again, I'll always feel indebted and appreciative of the tremendous support she gave!
TCO: Do you have any advice for others out there who might be in a similar situation with their housing?
Yes, seek out support through Thrive Central Oregon as it's invaluable for guidance and knowledge of how to navigate the whole process of finding a new home to live in. The people who work there are professional and kind! So, yes, Thrive is a must if one needs any kind of support at all!
TCO: Are there any final thoughts you'd like to share with our community?
I found that working with Thrive wasn't just working with some professional organization; but, that the people there are kind and really care! I'm a former social worker and I can tell when people are really into offering support that is genuine and comes from their heart! And, Thrive meets that criteria and then some! There need to be organizations like Thrive all over the United States as compassion and empathy followed up with action are worth so much! Our community is a much better place because of Thrive and the wonderful people who work there!
Thank you so much to Dell for sharing his experience with our community, and keep reading for one of his most recent poems! ♡
Just a Breath Away
I’ve saved a vision of you inside a dream I’ve seen the place where peace awaits you, and where your heart is not hidden behind your mind
I want this for you... just as the fragrance of spring fills the air, and the blossoming of new life, rises from roots of the old So, carry on now brave warrior and lover of life, peril not in the storms that descend upon you during this time You are more than a tale told in the wind, and I see your heart taking its rightful place
Go now, and find your peace, for your home is just a breath away
© Dell Blackman