Youth Rapid Rehousing Case Manager Lolita Matthews (left) with Brianna and Aaron

Youth Rapid Rehousing Case Manager Lolita Matthews (left) with Brianna and Aaron

Few things test the strength of a relationship like the possibility of becoming homeless. Young couple Aaron and Brianna faced such a test when they moved into his mother’s apartment to avoid living on the street. But the situation was dire.

Aaron’s mother was in and out of the hospital with health issues, and the apartment was virtually uninhabitable with mold and caved-in ceilings. Eventually they were evicted with nowhere to go. Aaron and Brianna wound up sleeping on benches and behind stores.

“It was cold. It was a very scary situation,” said Aaron. “But together we got through it with St. Joseph’s Villa.”

Aaron says the Villa came at just the right time.  Without any other personal supports, Aaron and Brianna were referred to the Flagler Housing & Homeless Services youth rapid rehousing program.

“They [Flagler] said, ‘You find a place you want to live, and we’ll help get you there. But you have to put in the work.’  They left it up to us… they gave us the independence and control, so we hit the ground running,” said Aaron.

Within 20 days, Aaron and Brianna obtained housing in their own name.  “When we were in the meeting signing the lease, Flagler was there listening out for us,” said Aaron.  “They were there with us every step of the way.”

Aaron and Brianna also found jobs working at the same restaurant.  With budget coaching from Flagler, they’re not just looking to pay their rent; they’re saving for their future. In time Brianna hopes to go to school to become a registered nurse, while Aaron–inspired by working with the Villa–wants to become a guidance counselor for middle or high school students.

“I love St. Joseph’s Villa like family,” said Brianna.  “They’ve done so much for us.  They’re life changing.”

Publix donation

Aaron and Brianna were present when Publix Charities made a generous gift to Flagler Housing & Homeless Services. Publix also donated and assembled stockings for 155 children and teenagers.

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