Home for the first time in 30 years

Tommy and Tina of the institute for human services

Home for the first time in 30 years

Tommy and Tina say they “won the lottery.” Not the Powerball or Mega Millions — an affordable housing lottery. After living on the streets for decades, the couple knew their dreams turned into reality after a single phone call.

Tommy and Tina were no strangers to a tight budget. They did what they could to survive and live within their means, but it was never enough to afford $1,500 of rent each month. The pair has been married for six years and dated for years beforehand. They have spent their entire relationship living on the streets, park benches, and beaches.

After losing his source of income, Tommy thought finding a home in Hawaii was not likely. That’s where Tina came in. She did her research and decided to ask IHS for help. Tommy credits their end to homelessness to IHS and Tina’s diligence. Staying on top of the paperwork, connecting with their case manager each week, and resilience are their secrets to success.

“I had been homeless for 30 years, then I met Christina and she saved my life,” said Tommy. “She’s my secretary; my case worker; my manager.”

This couple touched each stage of housing while in IHS care. They went from emergency housing, to transitional housing, to a permanent home in about 11 months. Before moving into their permanent home, the couple worked with our housing assistance program and relied on our medical respite program. An unprovoked attack from another homeless individual on the streets put Tommy in one of our Tutu Bert’s respite homes while recovering from medical procedures.

Life has not always been easy for Tommy and Tina. However, despite the challenges and setbacks, their love and relationship has stayed strong. They are proud parents of a furbaby named Zoney and are now happily living in an apartment in Waianae.

Together, they plan to build a life off the streets that they could only dream of. As with all our clients, IHS will continue to check in on the couple and ensure they remain on the right track. We are looking forward to seeing the possibilities in their future unfold.

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