The Importance of Affordable Housing and Giving Back
When Richard was released from prison he was sent to a work release in Seattle that Pioneer Human Services operated. That was his first introduction to Pioneer and to the treatment, housing and employment services we provide.
“Communication is important. I was really focused on improving my life and open to communicating with the Pioneer staff what I needed and where my weaknesses were so staff could focus their time on the services that would best assist me in my transition back into the community.” -Richard
One of the major items that hung over Richard’s head was finding affordable and supportive housing once he was finished serving his time in work release. He was informed by work release staff about Pioneer’s clean and sober, transitional housing programs and they connected him with Pioneer’s housing department. He secured a room in the Stewart House. He knew he needed structure, and was determined to make good decisions in his life to prevent ever having to go back to prison. Richard stayed in transitional housing for a year before transitioning into Pioneer’s permanent housing.
“I was so relieved to land a permanent apartment in Pioneer’s housing program. At about this time, Pioneer also hired me on as a night time monitor for all the Capital Hill buildings. As a monitor, I made sure the buildings were a safe place for the residents, and it gave me a chance to speak with residents and help to build a community within the program.” -Richard
After several months working as a night time monitor, Richard landed a high paying construction job, but he didn't want to leave Pioneer. He talked with housing staff and decided to stay on one night a week doing drug testing of the residents in the clean and sober housing program. Even though he had moved into another Pioneer permanent housing program that was no longer in the same area, he wanted to stay connected.
Richard has continued to work with Pioneer one night a week for over a year now. When asked why he continues he stated, “It's my way of giving back. I have a great job and stable housing and I’m in a good place in my life. Now I want to share what I’ve learned, support other people who are struggling and tell my story to give them hope. Being in a position to be a positive role model in someone else’s life is really empowering.”