I am a former research scientist for the state with extra rooms in my home. I want to be helpful and sharing my home is a way I can do that. My first guests were an extended family of four who left after 3 weeks upon finding longer term housing. I hosted two others since, both small families for short stays. I am now hosting a very nice fellow who recently updated his education to improve his technology career potential. It has been great working with Safe Time!
The Rewards of Hosting
Hosts feel enriched by the experience and find great satisfaction for having helped.
My first Safe Time guests were Nikkii and son Demareau, age 5. They are both delightful, full of spirit, and inquisitive about everything. I received a very nice thank-you note from them, though the pleasure was mine. Often people just need a break. I have space in my home and want to contribute. It isn’t all about the person needing a leg up – it is heartwarming for the hosts to be helpful in any way we can. During their four week stay, Nikkii received a job offer and obtained an apartment and now seems to have a good plan forward. Thank you Safe Time for creating these opportunities.
My second Safe Time guest was a UC Berkeley student who would not have been able to afford to attend the college orientation – his housing contract was not available until afterwards. He stayed with me for two weeks and was quiet, respectful and so very appreciative. He left early each morning and returned after dinner, so I hardly even got a chance to know him, but it felt so good to be able to help!
My third Safe Time guest was Julie, 65 , who moved from another Safe Time host as her room was needed for a visiting parent. She has been a volunteer in schools and nonprofits. We talked a lot and have become friends. Her 3 weeks with me have been just what she needed to regroup and finish making a good plan for herself – she decided to move to a less expensive area where she has friends and family, so things are looking good for her.
We volunteered to be Safe Time hosts because we have a spare room and sharing it seemed like an ideal way to make a community contribution given our busy lives (we are married professionals with two children in elementary school). Also, we thought it would be a good experience for our children. Julie, 65, lost her low-cost housing situation and, living on social security, needed time to make a plan for herself. We got to know her and developed sufficient trust to leave her alone in our house when we took a vacation. She stayed three weeks, seems to be making good progress towards self-sufficiency, and It was a pleasure to get to know her!
I grieve for the homeless and now have found a way to help prevent it. The Safe Time process to identify and approve a potential guest was well organized and comforting. Celeste, 55, was barely eking by with a part time job, only able to afford unsafe residences. It has been a delight to see her begin to thrive and approach her full-time job search with energy and enthusiasm. I think I have been of some help to her, and I am sure she will benefit from being here. After four weeks, she received a full-time job offer and accepted it!
My wife and I have taken in a number of needy individuals. One was a 77 year old woman who lost her low-rent accommodations and needed time to arrange her affairs to be able to live on her social security. Another was a gentleman with alcohol abuse who needed a place to stay while completing a county rehabilitation program and seeking employment. A third was a young man who was estranged from his family and needed time to complete his high school equivalency, take some college courses, and find a career. He is now employed as a sports coach. We have never had any problems with any of the people we have taken in.
I have taken in many folks referred by St. Paul’s Church into my 2-bedroom condominium since I retired as a chemical engineer. I offer one of my rooms and I also have two couches. I currently have a young man who is getting medical treatment at the county hospital. Recently I took in a woman who had been sleeping in a car until the owner left town. I believe that a warm, welcoming place to sleep is critical to provide, especially in cold weather. I try to help with life skills. I encouraged one woman who stayed with me to take community college courses in geriatric care. She is now living with and caring for an elderly couple. I have never, ever had anything stolen, people are so thankful for the kindness. So many of the poverty stricken are just as intelligent and worthy as those well-off, it is just by circumstance that they need our temporary help.
I regularly host singles (mostly men) and couples in my home, referred from community agencies, from one to three at a time. I do it to pay back all the generosity I have benefited from in my life. I carefully interview folks before accepting them, and every guest has been appreciative. The typical stay has been 3-6 months. I have never had a legal problem or anything stolen. I generally ask my guests to do some work to help out. If it isn’t working out after a few days I politely ask them to leave and they always do. One of my dad’s coworkers became homeless and contacted me needing a place to stay, under the promise I wouldn’t tell my dad. He stayed a while, got on his feet, then on his own accord told my dad one day what I did for him. Hearing my dad say how proud he was of me was the best day of my life.
I took in Emerald after meeting with her at a local coffee shop and learning she was employed but living in a friend’s storage unit, sleeping on a cold concrete floor. I was apprehensive at first but after speaking with her I had a good feeling she was responsible and safe. We spent a lot of time talking and some of her history was hard to hear. She offered to help with cleaning and errands, but I preferred that she focus on improving her situation. She left after two weeks, after finding a low cost room she could afford with a friend. I learned that strangers in need are not stereotypes, in fact they can be stronger than us in many ways. Excerpted from Huffington Post.