Housing = Hope

“I’d like to have a ring with my own key on it.”

That wish was one of the first things Marvin Prince, 43, shared with us, after agreeing that we follow his journey from the streets to housing. “I’d like to have my own bedroom,” Marvin said, sharing with us that his physician has told him not to sleep outdoors or in shelters due to his severe medical issues. But what can he do?

After being denied housing recently due to his criminal background, he had given up hope. Then a friend of his who, like him, had completed a Vulnerability Index survey, gave him the contact number for Madge Johnson.

Madge is one of the driving forces behind the How’s Nashville campaign. She volunteers with Open Table Nashville and serves on the campaign’s steering committee. Once Madge became Marvin’s outreach specialist, things began to change. She checked in with him regularly to see how things were going and assisting him with his housing search. Hope slowly came seeping back.

Then, last week, Madge ran into Marvin on her way to a How’s Nashville meeting. He was walking to a bus stop and barely got there when Madge called him with the news that he was approved for a Section 8 Housing Voucher.

Then, yesterday, was the briefing where he received his voucher. He cannot remember how long he’s been homeless. But it’s been many years. He first came to Nashville in 2003, and then returned in January. He’s never had an apartment here. Now Marvin hopes to find a landlord who accepts his Section 8 Housing voucher soon.

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