Daybreak Landlord, Shawn Elrod, Makes A Big Impact On The Lives of Homeless Youth

“Having my own children made me more empathetic and made me want to help.”

Imagine your daily sleeping arrangement rotating from a friend’s couch to an unlocked car, to a parking garage. You can’t remember the last time you had a home or a bed. You forget what it feels like to live in a comfortable and safe place.

This is the experience of many Daybreak youth.

But Daybreak’s transitional housing program helps youth find another way. This program allows the youth to live in their own apartment, off Daybreak property, with the support of Daybreak staff. It gives the youth responsibility, independence, and is the next step before they live entirely on their own.

To do this, Daybreak rents apartments from landlords throughout the community.

Shawn Elrod is one such landlord.

“Before I started working with Daybreak, I didn’t know there were so many kids who needed help. I’ve worked with subsidized housing before, for adults, and I knew there were a lot of adults in need, but I had no idea about the amount of youth,” said Shawn.

When Shawn bought several rental properties that Daybreak rented at the time, he knew he had a choice of whether or not to continue renting to Daybreak youth. “When I was making the decision to continue renting to Daybreak, I met a few tenants who graduated from the program. One was a really nice kid but had some issues with his parents in the past. Daybreak helped him get on the right track. Hearing his story, you could see the success of it. The youth progress through the program and then they live on their own.”

Daybreak staff work with youth in the apartments to teach them life skills so they can maintain an apartment and become a good tenant. “To have the extra support that Daybreak provides by interacting with the youth and helping them with any struggles, is the best part. It gives me reassurance. Daybreak staff provide that extra set of eyes and ears on the ground that makes it easier on me.

While Daybreak staff do their best to be a helpful, Bailey Thompson, Daybreak’s Housing Director, explains why landlords, like Shawn, are so crucial to the success of our youth, “Shawn’s unwavering understanding is evident in every interaction he has with our youth. His patience toward the youth helps us achieve our goal of helping the youth learn and develop.”

Recently a youth accidentally broke a garbage disposal in one of Shawn’s units. “Without hesitation Shawn addressed the problem and informed us throughout the process. His patience allowed us to educate the youth in that unit. Shawn also works hard to upgrade his units which shows that he recognizes the dignity in having quality living conditions,” said Bailey.

For Shawn, however, it’s all about empathy, “There are kids out there that don’t have structure or a great environment to grow up in. I think having my own children made me more empathetic and made me want to help other kids who don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else.”