The chronically homeless have a new path to follow in search of a better life. That path is being built with the help of a grant approved by the Omaha City Council.
The gap between status quo and homelessness can be small and it can be a quick one to cross. The road back is filled with hurdles.
For Kelley Teddlie and Beverly Lackore, the thought of never escaping homelessness was a reality just a few years ago.
Beverly said, “I depended on so many people for so many years, and now I can depend on myself."
Life on the streets meant a life of being needy but that’s not the case for either of them now. Both were able to take advantage of Community Alliance's Shelter Plus care. It not only provides programs to help the transition out of homeless life but it provides a permanent place to call home thanks to a $173,000 national grant.
Beverly said, “I have my own freedom; my own space. It's just a safety place for me, which is a big thing for me. It's someplace I can call my own, which I haven't been able to do for years."
The goal of the grant is to target the chronically homeless, which is defined by somebody who lives on the street or in an emergency shelter for longer than a year. It could also mean someone who has four instances of homelessness over the past three years, specifically targeting those with mental illness."
Kelley Teddlie said, “If people know that you got a mental illness, they try to shy away from you."
Teddlie needs to make a few adjustments. While being back inside a kitchen cooking and cleaning for himself is strange, his biggest surprise is, “being able just to sit. That takes some getting used to."
But the door to the future is now open.
According to Omaha’s Planning Department, this is the eighth year the grant has been used here.