Local collaborations helps a family find a new home after months homeless

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -One family who spent months homeless has a new roof over their heads, and it’s thanks to local collaborations.

Valarie Yazzie and her family lived at the Topeka Rescue Mission for about four months. Recently, she and her family moved into a home of their own with the help of Topeka Public Schools and Impact Avenues.

Valarie Yazzie says various personal issues put her life in a tailspin, “six months ago I found myself homeless,” she explained.

“It was a little scary, I mean I’ve never been homeless before,” Yazzie continued. “I was embarrassed, I didn’t know what was gonna happen, I was ashamed, and I remember ringing the doorbell for Topeka Rescue Mission, but they accepted me and I took my three grandkids and I went to the shelter.”

Yazzie says she was working to provide for her family throughout their time at the mission, “every day I got up, I left the mission and I had daily goals that I worked on.”

“If it was appointments, counseling classes, and I did it for four months and four months later I have a home,” Yazzie added.

The mission connected Yazzie with Impact Avenues - an organization with community partners including the Mission and Topeka Public Schools.

Together, they found a home for Yazzie, her three grandchildren who attend Quincy Elementary School, and her daughter who attends Topeka High School.

“One of our requirements is that the kids get enrolled in their attendance side and the reason for that is, because we believe that attendance is in correlation with their education,” Stephanie Carrillo with Impact Avenues said. “So having them attending school regularly, there’s a correlation of them having better grades and having all these connections throughout the school.”

Though the process was long, Yazzie says it was worth it, “some days I would find myself down because maybe things weren’t moving fast enough. I wasn’t hearing back from certain things or some days some things didn’t work out as planned. So with the two-month wait process, it was nerve-racking, I was anxious, but the day I found out I was so excited so happy.”

Not only did she receive housing, USD 501 Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson surprised Yazzie with a job interview and more resources to get back on her feet.

“She’s a great representation of Impact Avenues, her resilience, and determination to getting housed for her children,” Carrillo emphasized. “She’s such a great person to work with, when she came in she was very organized, she had a calendar, she was on top of things, she knew she wanted housing. We just kind of helped guide her and gave her that support, but she did all the work for herself.”

Yazzie says she’s grateful for these resources, “it says that they’re out there willing to help everybody willing to help people that may be in a similar situation. There are tons of different resources out there to help families that were just like mine.”

Topeka Public Schools has moved 176 families out of homelessness through their partnership with Impact Avenues.

For more resources on how to qualify for housing, click here.

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