A violent family situation left Kester and Owen homeless. But Kester would do whatever it took to give his son a better life.

After a violent family situation forced them to flee, Kester and his son Owen found themselves homeless with nowhere to go. Initially, they found beds in a temporary shelter where they were referred to one of Heading Home‘s emergency shelters in Dorchester. Once there, staff saw that Kester would do whatever it took to give his son a better life. 

He quickly enrolled in one-on-one career development coaching and financial literacy training at their Economic Mobility Center (EMC) and worked with both his case manager and the EMC staff to outline a set of goals. Soon after, he was accepted to the accelerated Professional Medical Assistant program at the Salter School in Malden. After 7 months of living in the shelter, Kester’s situation was finally stable and he and Owen were accepted into one of Heading Home’s Transitional Housing programs.

They lived here for two and half years while Kester studied, worked and took care of Owen until he met all of the career development and financial requirements necessary to qualify for permanent housing. This was a huge milestone for the family and a beautiful thing to witness for the Heading Home staff who had worked with them.

In 2018, Kester received an externship as a Certified Medical Assistant with Tufts Medical Center Community Care system as part of his degree program. He has since been offered a full-time job and still works at Tufts Medical. In November of 2018, Kester and Owen officially secured a lease and finally moved into their permanent supportive housing unit.

Their story is only one of the many moving client stories and milestone moments that your support has directly made possible.

Heading Home is unique in that it’s one of the few Boston-area homeless agencies that helps both families and individuals. They emphasize permanent housing attainment and retention, recognizing that success is eminently more achievable with a stable place to stay. Research shows that, for most of their clients, housing in combination with supportive services is much more effective than just one or the other. This housing-plus-services model has led Home Start’s clients to achieve an annual permanently housed retention rate of 90%+ for 14 years running. They attribute this success to the way their housing and services complement each other: goal-oriented, client-focused coaching that emphasizes finding housing and developing the skill they need to stay there and become more self-sufficient.

Impact Stats

Snapshot:  How we’re helping to end homelessness

  • $5.7M – United Way’s annual investment in Ending Homelessness
  • 10,264 – Families like Kester’s in Massachusetts who avoided homelessness last year

Our Partners

We work with 77 strategic partner agencies in 142 communities to end family homelessness. Our partners include:

  • Heading Home, Inc.
  • HomeStart
  • The Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development
  • The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
  • Children’s Health Watch
  • Project Hope

View all our agency partners

Make A Financial Impact

Ensures two families can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Helps one family avoid a financial emergency and meet their basic needs.

Provides twelve families with emergency heating assistance during the winter.

Provides emergency support that prevents two families from being evicted.