Reducing Homelessness One Person at a Time

Homelessness has decreased 40% over the past seven years in the Midlands

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Video Credit: United Way of the Midlands. Your contributions through United Way fund programs that help individuals experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.

For years, United Way of the Midlands has worked with our Community Impact Partners, with school districts and local governments, and with donors and volunteers like you to end homelessness in our community.

Together, we’ve reduced homelessness in the Midlands by 40% in the past seven years.

Back in 2011, United Way of the Midlands worked with the business and faith community to help create Transitions to provide shelter and wrap-around services to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to long-term housing. In 2018 alone, 912 people were placed in housing through United Way-supported programs like Transitions.

Tonya Boette was among these 912 people.

Tonya was born in Columbia and raised in Lexington County, and about a year ago she became homeless. Tonya thought she’d never experience homelessness but quickly realized that it can happen to anyone.

“I never thought being homeless would happen to me,” she said. “But it can happen to anybody.”

She was working in Atlanta for a contract position and when the contract ran out, she tried to look for more work but couldn’t. That is when she decided to move back to Columbia and live with her sister. Eventually that was no longer an option, and Tonya found Transitions Homeless Shelter.

“Transitions is where I got my foothold again, I was able to get started, have transportation which I did not have at the time. I was able to have a roof over my head where I knew I would have somewhere to stay and not have to leave,” Boette said.

During her time at Transitions, she applied to a job at First Citizens Bank. She spoke with someone she’d known for many years at First Citizens who ended up interviewing Boette and hiring her.

“I’ve been there ever since I started with no vehicle, no place to live or anything. Once I had saved all of my money, I got a car and then right after that I got a home,” Boette said.

Tonya is now an active volunteer in the community, and a regular at Christ Central serving meals and sharing her story and encouragement with others experiencing homelessness.

“If I had not gone to Transitions, I would not be where I am today,” she said. “At one point, I didn’t think I’d make it in this life and now my outlook is so much better, and now my outlook is so much better and I am looking forward to what’s next.”

United Way continues to provide significant financial and volunteer support to Transitions to reduce homelessness in the Midlands thanks to donors and volunteers like you.

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