As a licensed realtor for over 30 years, I never expected to find myself working at Crossroads Rhode Island.
I first learned about Crossroads when I joined the Coldwell Banker management team. I helped coordinate the annual end-of-summer picnic at Kingstown Crossings and the annual holiday party at Crossroads' Family Center, excited by the opportunity to provide a fun respite for the children and families in shelter and transitional housing during a difficult time in their lives. Little did I know that 12 years later I would still be touching the lives of countless families as an employee of Crossroads, serving as Team Leader for Crossroads' statewide Housing Navigators.
Since joining the Crossroads team, I realized that Real Estate and Crossroads can be associated with one common goal: housing. In 2013 Crossroads changed its mission and converted to a Housing First model, proven to be the most effective method of insuring long-term housing stability. Much like I would as real estate agent, my team and I work diligently to provide housing that is safe, respectable, and effective.
When I first started my career in real estate, one of my favorite moments was presenting the keys to a first-time home buyer. That moment absolutely pales in comparison to giving the keys to a family experiencing homelessness – people who are in a life or death situation without a place to call home. There's another big difference: Whereas first time home buyers may want a new dining or living room to furnish their new home, someone who has been homeless literally moves in with almost nothing – maybe just an air mattress and the clothes on their back. No furniture, no towels, no pots, pans or silverware.
Reflecting on my time here, now 6 years later, I will never forget one family in particular that moved from shelter to housing during the holidays last year.
A single mother and her three children, ages 14, 7 and 3, just moved into their 3-bedroom home in Providence. They did not have much except for the keys to their new place and a few personal belongings. They did not think they would be able to celebrate Christmas that year. That is, until I found someone to donate a Christmas tree to the family. Together, with Santa, we delivered the tree to their new home. Overcome with joy and excitement, the 14-year old son hugged me and said: “You delivered Christmas to my family.”
That is when I realized: Crossroads delivers Christmas to our clients every day when we provide them with keys to their new house.
This story serves as a reminder that everyone deserves to have a home, not just for the holidays, but all year round. We at Crossroads strive to give the gift of hope to others each and every day, making the dream of home a reality for so many families and individuals. I am proud to be part of an organization that works towards this cause every day.