Homelessness doesn’t start with the absence of a home, but the absence of hope.
–Garrett Underwood, Executive Director of Seed House Project
Seed House Project’s story began similarly to other social impact organizations, a need is identified and solution provided; but the “how” of this story follows its own unique path.
Garrett Underwood, Founder and Executive Director of Seed House Project. has always been one to see life’s experiences as the breadcrumbs towards destiny. Whether “good” or “bad,” they always teach us by either helping us grow or revealing a lesson and are an invaluable part of our journey.
A pivotal breadcrumb in Garrett’s life, which laid the foundation for Seed House Project, was his experience with Cameron. Through his Christian clothing company, Garrett started an employment program collaborating with shelters across the nation to provide career workshops and job opportunities. This endeavor positively impacted over 98 young adults, one of which was fun-loving, charismatic, full of life Cameron.
The program was able to consistently employ Cameron and supported him in moving from his supportive living home to his own apartment, as well as with purchasing his first car. Things were really changing for him, but within a couple of months after moving from the program, Cameron relapsed. This caused him to lose his job which led to him losing his apartment. Garrett offered him shelter for a brief period, but due to his anxiety, he left without notice.
After a few days, Cameron called. Garrett saw but did not answer his call, planning to reach out once he had time, a decision that really weighed on him. The act of not answering made him think of the times we pass by individuals experiencing homelessness and avert our eyes because we cannot be present with their situation. An hour after missing the call, Cameron passed away from an overdose.
Reflecting on Cameron’s life and the countless other young individuals he has assisted, Garrett observed that there was a consistent absence of imaginative energy. They just weren’t equipped with the tools necessary to see past their current circumstances. Their daily struggles for survival left little room for dreaming. Garrett envisioned a different future for them, one filled with unwavering support, the power of imagination, and the ability to envision possibilities. One that would have been able to support Cameron in the way he needed most.
This revelation prompted Garrett to convert his home into a sanctuary for at-risk youth, where boundless possibilities could be explored. He embraced the unconventional by asking his roommates to leave, moved himself into a trailer, and now his home, now called Cameron’s Home, stands as a testament to Cameron and a safe-haven for our youth to dream beyond their circumstances by tapping into their superpowers and capabilities.
Garrett discovered that a physical house wasn’t the only solution to homelessness, the resources and community built around the person was. Driven by the memory of Cameron, we hope our story ignites others to dare to spark radical change like it did Garrett.
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