Hope & Home At American House

Dylan Novacek August 14, 2020

Written by Dylan Novacek, Content Specialist

“I was down and out. It felt like the world was coming to an end. Before American House nobody would accept me in. I just needed someone to give me that hope.”

Sleeping on floors, 56-year-old Tony faced chronic homelessness. Never having a place to call his own, he faced endless roadblocks on his journey to stability. Arrests for driving without a license, long waits at shelters, and restrictions on life’s simple luxuries eluded him. Then he found American House.

“It’s a great feeling! I can come and go as I please. I can follow my own rules. My name is on the bills, and I have my own set of keys,” Tony exclaimed, thankful for the last five years living at American House. “A person can’t change unless you give them the chance. I got that chance here.”

Living without a home makes one realize the simple things we take for granted. For Tony, it was the ability to hold on to precious memories and welcome his family into his home.

“When I was living with other people a lot of things would go missing. My clothes, my valuables. I have one photo of my mom left, and I am hanging on tight to that,” Tony paused. “I want to settle more and enjoy the space I am in, surrounded by the people I love. Settle is the key word. I’ve never been settled.”

AmericanHousewebThrough the support services at American House, Tony can settle down with comfort and convenience. With nearby access to light rail and the local food shelf, along with dedicated service staff from our partners at Avivo, residents like Tony can thrive.

“The staff at American House gave me hope. They were the only people to take me in despite my rough background. They help build community for everyone in the building,” Tony beamed, celebrating the good supportive housing does. “I give this place two thumbs up. You’re never alone here!”

In addition to crucial public funding, it takes $1,000 from community donations to support a resident like Tony each month. Supportive housing is the key to the success for residents who have faced chronic homelessness and trauma.

“Homes like American House are so important to our communities because it helps your neighbors who aren’t living their best lives,” Tony exclaimed. “I was tired of living in a system that made it nearly impossible to find stability. It’s all better when we’re all better.”

Tony is proud to represent American House, as he was featured on a KSTP news story about a recent grant given to American House.

Click here to watch him make his debut on the nightly news!

“I was just pulling up and saw the news van. I just lucked into getting on TV,” Tony laughed. “My Dad saw me on TV the other night and it was a really good feeling. I am glad he sees that I am doing okay.”

“I’ve had family members who didn’t understand why I couldn’t find a stable home,” he reflected on his journey. “I didn’t think I could do it either. But someone believed in me. American House believed in me, And here I am…5 years later!”

For many, there are limited resources to help after facing evictions, incarcerations, and health issues. It’s a simple fact: home is the most essential need. For Tony, home is a place of privacy and safety. Where he can invite his children in, collect memories, and hold onto keepsakes.

“My goal is to stay here, keep paying my rent, and build up my home,” Tony beamed. “I’ve never experienced a home like this in my life. And I am so much happier because of it.”

At Beacon, we believe supportive housing is a daily example of how the world should be. It’s not only the right thing to do for our communities, it’s the smart thing to do.

Together we are creating new homes as well as supporting residents like Tony who currently live in Beacon homes.  It’s all part of our $12 million “Connected by Home” fundraising campaign, which will allow us to double our homes and double down on policies to support neighbors who need a home. After the first year, we’re already halfway there, with $6 million to go in the next 24 months.

“The hope I found at American House keeps me going everyday. I see the kindness from the staff and residents,” Tony smiled ear to ear. “People aren’t selfish. Everyone helps out here. If I was to move out I would be the person I was before. But thanks to American House I feel so renewed.

Learn more on how supportive housing changes lives and improves our communities. Click here to join us for a 30 minute information session called Beacon Now—and bring a friend!