ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Vincent de Paul CARES reached a new milestone this month by placing more than 3,000 homeless clients into housing since March 2020, according to CEO Michael Raposa.
“It is almost a 50-50 blend between Veterans and civilians that we’ve housed,” said Raposa. “If you consider the total number of days, it’s about 2.7 per day.”
A single mother of five, Miesha Newsome, 34, was one of those clients. Newsome said she and her kids lived in their car for one year.
“We went from having a home for 15 years to nothing,” she said. “In a matter of no time.”
SVdP CARES placed the Newsome family into a home in St. Petersburg last November.
“Thank you to St. Vincent de Paul and everybody who helped,” she said. “Changed me and my children’s lives. It has been nothing but a blessing.”
Newsome said while they were homeless, the six of them had to sleep in a car with only 5 seats. She often moved the car to avoid drawing attention.
“I would have to move because you don’t want people to get afraid that they see this car in the same location,” she said. “Then you’ve got a bigger problem if you get the police called on you.”
Newsome said at the time, she was working three jobs just to afford gas and food. Since being placed into the home, Newsome said she was able to get a job at a doctor’s office that pays more than her other three jobs combined and things are looking up.
“It’s full time with benefits and just a lot more to offer,” she said. “I’m able to come home and actually be a mom and cook these meals for these kids.”
Newsome said she credits SVdP CARES for helping her turn things around.
“They’re more than just an agency. They become your family and that’s the most important thing,” she said. “They watch you through the whole process. They hold your hand. It’s been a blessing.”
SVdP CARES provides management services before, during, and after housing placement to further ensure stability on the household’s path to permanence, according to the nonprofit.
“This is just a huge deal for homelessness,” said Raposa. “In our community, the only solution is housing.”