More second chance stories

As an organization, we aim to facilitate access to affordable housing. By employing individuals who have experienced the effects of housing challenges firsthand, we aim to offer hope, guidance, and the opportunity for a second chance in all facets of our work.


Our support team is well-versed in the hardships of homelessness, displacement, and involvement with the criminal justice system that come from first-hand experience and understanding. A few of our employees have graciously shared their second chance journey with Housing Collaborative to help inspire others to keep pursuing their own comeback stories.


From incarceration to full-time employment:


“While incarcerated, I spent most of my time planning how I was going to get back out into the world and get back on my feet. I gave myself a goal date and I continuously revised this plan of action up until my release.


But the one factor I did not spend a lot of time on, however, was employment.


Having had several years of gainful employment under my belt and a college education, I figured getting a job would be the easiest step for me. Boy, was I wrong. 


In fact, I became so desperate for work that I started accepting offers for jobs that I am sure I was over-qualified for – jobs that offered pay that could barely support my transportation, let alone provide me the means to take care of myself and my young son.


I was referred to Housing Collaborative by an amazing case worker at Mecklenburg Reentry who saw first-hand my struggle to find employment that was not only sufficient for maintaining my household but that fulfilled my passion to give back to the community.


This company saw me for what I could offer, not the smudge on my background report. 


Housing Collaborative’s belief in second-chance employment is absolutely the number one reason I enjoy working for this company as much as I do.”


  • J, Housing Collaborator since September 2020


From Prison to outstanding team leader:


“In August of 2010, I was released from Federal Prison to a halfway house with the obligation to seek employment. Finding employment was part of my requirement in order to remain in the halfway house which is the bridge between prison and home. If I was to work successfully, I could continue the program from home but the problem, as I was convicted of a felony, no one would hire me.


 I applied for jobs at every local restaurant, agency, and warehouse with no luck.


I spoke to one of my friends at Housing Collaborative who said, ‘we will be hiring a new training class in October.’ Happy was an understatement. When I began working, which I had not done on the outside of prison, I finally felt like I belonged back in society. I finally felt like I was doing the right thing. I was no longer selling drugs and tearing up the community but contributing. I knew I wouldn’t disappoint with this opportunity. I held on and tried to overachieve just to be appreciated, not knowing that I was already appreciated.


Having a second chance allows you to explore the new well-developed version of yourself. It gives you the opportunity to show others that you can and have changed for the better. 


Working here was a start to a new life, a new beginning, a new me. After working here for almost 12 years, and assisting others with their needs, I not only feel a part of the organization but appreciated!”


  • T, Housing Collaborator since October 2010