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Blog

Bridging The Gap: Housing Stability

Creating A Home
Every other Sunday, Rich and Jean Horbert host a barbeque at the home the couple purchased for those in need of a helping hand.

In early 2019, the Horberts met an older, kind, unassuming man named Neal at a local Starbucks they frequented. Each day they ran into Neal, they discussed small talk topics- weather and current events. After several weeks and deepening conversation, Rich learned something about their new friend that shocked him to his core. The man he had just met called a 1994 Nissan Sentra without A/C his home

This is when Rich and Jean knew they had found a new purpose. 

It all began with small acts of kindness- sharing resources like food, money here and there, or a hot cup of joe. One day, it dawned on them, “How is it possible, for a man like Neal to be comfortable to sleep in a car that small?”

In September of 2019, Neal was gifted with a used van by the Horberts, a place where he could fully lay down, have relief from the summer nights, and even a radio. 

Housing Stability
As their relationship developed further, Rich and Jean began helping Neal search for a more permanent place to call home. With the affordable housing crisis and rising rent costs, they were worried that apartment living would not be a long-term solution. 

Jean exhaustively searched for months. Nothing seemed to fit. Then, the perfect three-bedroom home off of a beautiful lake in Apopka, Florida was listed for sale. 

The Horberts reached into their life savings to invest in creating a safe, stable home for Neal and two others. 

“We knew that other blue-ribbon older men in need of a helping hand were out there. We just didn’t know where. That’s where The Sharing Center comes in. We wanted to find the people experiencing homelessness that are most often forgotten or underserved- older, single men.” With two extra rooms available in the home, Rich reached out to Nina Yon, President & CEO of The Sharing Center. 

With the help of DaMario, The Oasis Manager, Robert, and David, two guests experiencing homelessness, yearning for a stable life again, are now living in a beautiful home by a beautiful lake. 

“They’re good people. They simply needed a helping hand. This isn’t a place of transitional living or a place to cash in rent. It’s a home, a family. This is a long-term solution for these men”, stated Rich. 

Rich and Jean, out of the extreme kindness of their hearts, have created a long-lasting opportunity for a few men on their journey to stability. 

Rich wholeheartedly believes others can do the same. “It’s all about getting involved in the community. That’s the message we have. It’s understanding the concept that anyone can do what we are doing and that anyone make a difference.” Join the Horberts and don’t just see the need in our community, but be part of the solution! 

It doesn’t have to be your life savings or a huge act. If you’re wanting to make a difference and use your valuable resources, consider giving your time. Every act of a shared resource is a gift to those right here in our neighborhood experiencing hunger and homelessness.

Learn more about how you can serve the underresourced at thesharingcenter.org/volunteer.