November 17, 2020
It’s been a difficult year.
That sentence conjures all sorts of images and events in our hearts and minds. But thankfully, for most of us – we’ve been able to find comfort and solace in our homes. The same isn’t true for the families UMOM serves, and we’re entering this holiday season more grateful than ever for you, our supporters, for making possible the life-changing work we do each day. At UMOM, we are committed to helping people find homes, their refuge from world events. We do this not just during the holidays, but 365 days a year. Right now, more than 100 families are waiting for up to six weeks to escape the unsafe environment of sleeping on the street or in their cars. UMOM can help, but our resources are limited, so we need your help.
I am asking you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the work of UMOM as Thanksgiving approaches. While we take time to give thanks for our many blessings, please join us in caring for the most vulnerable in our community – families, women and youth experiencing homelessness. There’s no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by helping families find a home for the holidays.
It’s been a difficult year, but with your help, we can continue to build on Darlene’s legacy of ending homelessness and make these holidays full of hope for those who need the comfort of a home. Thank you for your ongoing support!
Jackson Fonder, UMOM CEO
“When you are struggling, encouragement and people saying, ‘we believe in you’…it’s a big thing.”
It began with shattered glass, the remains of a fatal car accident that resulted in 30-year-old Jarvis spending two weeks hospitalized in a coma. He woke up facing the emotional anguish of the accident, new financial pressures, and the inability to work while recovering.
Jarvis, his wife, and two children (daughter 6, son 5) decided their best option for healing would be to leave their home in Glendale and move in with Jarvis’ mom in Tempe. Not long after, his mom was diagnosed with an aneurism. Out of concern for his mother’s health, the young family looked for another place to live. Friends offered to help, but often Jarvis would sleep in his car.
Just as Jarvis was deemed healthy enough to return to his position as a restaurant manager at the airport, COVID-19 hit. Both Jarvis and his wife lost their jobs and their income. No income. No home. It would have been easy to also have no hope, but they found their way to UMOM.
UMOM laid the foundation for the family to rebuild their lives. Jarvis attended job readiness programs and worked one-on-one with workforce development specialists to receive help with his resume and job search. He also found comfort in meeting and praying with the campus chaplain. UMOM staff took the time to listen and understand his situation and provided encouragement through his most difficult days.
The situation was especially hard for Jarvis, as he struggled with pride as well as the memory of a childhood that also included a period of homelessness after his father died. “At first, I didn’t want to tell nobody I was in a shelter, but I had to let my pride go,” said Jarvis. Jarvis now reflects on his time at UMOM and fondly remembers the compassion he received and the patience he learned. He recalls the transition from not wanting to be at UMOM and then not wanting to leave.
But that time came, and he worked hard to earn it. During the family’s time at UMOM, Jarvis and his wife were able to save money from unemployment, and the UMOM Rapid Rehousing program team worked with the them to help find a home. Jarvis and his family recently moved to their new home. Healthy and thankful, they’re settling in and preparing for the holidays.