Here at Welcome Home Collaborative, we strive to help our program participants in a multifaceted way. Through offering transitional housing, we are able to offer very low costs for a clean, comfortable living space for people who may not have had that option in a long while. But that’s not the main focus of our program.
WHC is committed to helping participants change their lives. There are many reasons why people find themselves homeless, and we aim to help them acknowledge those issues, create LIFE plans including SMART goals (Specific, Measurable & Meaningful, Action Oriented, Realistic & Resource-driven & Time-Bound) to address those issues, and coach and support them in a way that can help them overcome previous barriers in order to move forward in their lives.
At the heart of this support are our LIFE Coaches. LIFE Coaches are WHC trained volunteers who meet with our program participants once a week. The coaches are trained in aspects such as motivational interviewing, focusing on asking open-ended questions to allow participants to look at alternatives they have in their lives.
Many participants come into our program in a contemplative state, but don’t know exactly how or aren’t ready to change. This is where LIFE Coaches can come in to provide insight, guidance, and advice. Coaches help participants create LIFE plans with SMART goals based on a self-sufficiency matrix. This matrix varies by subject, but can take on a spiritual, physical, or financial goal that takes a participant from being in a vulnerable state (scoring 1) to an empowered state (scoring 5).
Many goals can be as simple as getting a driver’s license, or reconnecting with an estranged family member. Whatever area of life the participant wants to focus on, our LIFE Coaches make it their duty to help make that goal happen.
Many of our LIFE Coaches have been known to attend AA meetings with participants, or drive participants to various appointments. These coaches are inspired through their own life experiences to help change the lives of WHC participants.
One of our LIFE Coaches, John, states, “I am a retired social worker and the idea of volunteering to help people move from being homeless to independence appealed to me.” His assigned participant came into the WHC program homeless, and within six months transitioned to living independently and working as a forklift operator.
These types of stories continue to inspire us here at Welcome Home Collaborative. Because “home” for us isn’t just a safe place to rest your head, it’s a support system and a place of hope for our participants to change their lives for the better.