In July 1994, HOM, Inc. opened its doors for business. At that time, HOM contracted with ComCare, which was the regional behavioral health authority for Maricopa County. ComCare, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Commerce, had secured their first Shelter Plus Care grant from HUD to provide housing to 300 of their consumers with serious mental illness who were homeless. We started housing people immediately, starting with 13 individuals who were living in a run-down rehab facility that was closing at the end of our first month! We quickly established relationships with a handful of apartment complexes in the community, conducted initial orientations for the new program participants, verified incomes, calculated rent, performed HQS inspections, got utilities and phones turned on and executed rental agreements. We even got a few friends to lend their hands and their trucks to help move our first clients into their new homes. We were very proud of our accomplishments, but had little time to soak it all in. Over the course of the next few years, ComCare continued its success at securing new Shelter Plus Care and Supportive Housing grants from HUD. By 1997, HOM, Inc. was providing rental assistance to over 800 individuals and families throughout Maricopa County.
We definitely experienced some growing pains in those early years with the rapid growth. We had a break-in at our first office and had tenant rent payments stolen, our first fire at a client’s apartment, we acquired and customized housing program management software, changed the model of rental assistance for the program and learned a lot about operating a small business. As a family-owned and operated company, HOM has always been supportive of employees’ and their families. In the early years, you would often see babies in pack-n-plays and toddlers running through the office! After years of long hours and sleepless nights, we started to see some calm on the horizon. Just as that stability was nearing, Maricopa County saw a change in the regional behavioral health authority along with the introduction of Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation (ABC), the new recipient of the HUD homeless programs that HOM was managing. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship with ABC since their inception in 1999 and congratulate them on their 10 years of success as well!
We also learned a lot about what it means to be homeless, the importance of recovery and hope and how to provide supportive housing to our clients with integrity. Since the doors opened, our emphasis has always been on customer service. We aim to treat all of our clients with the dignity and respect that they deserve. We value our relationships with all of our customers and partners, including our housing program participants, landlords, case managers and funders. We’ve also focused tremendous effort towards the development of processes, procedures and systems to deliver our services in the most efficient and effective manner possible. We strive to be a leader in our industry and to give back to the communities that we work and live in. Since 1994, we have provided housing to thousands of individuals and families exiting homelessness in Maricopa County. We are proud of our accomplishments, but we could not have reached this milestone without your help. Thank you for your support and partnership over the years!