Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Thursday that JPMorgan Chase & Co. donated $1 million to a program that directly funds new apartments for chronically homeless people.
The money will support Houston’s ambitious efforts to end chronic homelessness through The Way Home, the Houston region’s nationally recognized homeless housing initiative.
A formerly homeless man, Jay Jeanjaquet, spoke at the event about how the program has helped him get his life back.
After two tours in Korea, Jeanjaquet told KHOU medical problems cost him his job.
“I kissed the ground when I got back," he said.
It wasn’t long before Jeanjaquet's life spiraled out of control. He became suicidal and wore his welcome out with his family.
“Rejection from family because of what happened. My situation,” Jeanjacquet explained.
He found himself on the streets of Houston, down and out and nowhere to go.
“Pretty lonely. It was kind of catastrophic, to be honest with you," Jeanjaquet said.
He spent five years in the shadows before help found him.
He’s no longer standing on a street corner, but at a podium Thursday, next to Mayor Turner.
“I wish I could elaborate on all the people that helped me get here today,” Jeanjaquet said.
More than 100 agencies are working with the City of Houston to build housing like the Temenos Place Apartments 2 at 2200 Jefferson, in east downtown Houston, to get people off the street.
“It’s not enough to fill potholes in the street if we don’t take opportunity to fill potholes in people’s lives," Turner said.
The The Way Home program has transitioned people like Jeanjaquet and more than 8,000 chronically homeless people to permanent homes.
“I get up. I exercise. I visit friends. I consider myself retired,” Jeanjaquet said about his new life.
It’s more than just a roof over someone’s head.
“I have improved. I’m actually going somewhere in my life right now,” he said.
According to the City of Houston, The Way Home has raised $7 million toward it’s $15 million goal to finish creating 2,500 units of housing for chronically homeless individuals.
(© 2016 KHOU)