Empowered By Orange County United Way

Welcome Home, Brian.

Determination Leads Former Foster Youth to His New Home

As a 23-year-old recent graduate of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) now working in real estate, one might assume that Brian Morrissette had a traditional path to his success.

However, Brian’s education, career trajectory, and home security did not come easy. His childhood was spent in and out of the foster care system. He experienced homelessness at times which included living in shelters as well as a car. He often paid for a much-needed meal with pennies and coins from local fountains.

Despite the housing insecurity and challenges he faced, he persevered and prioritized his studies and was accepted to CSUF as a Business Administration and Finance major where he was determined to carve a path towards his future.

As he approached his 22nd birthday, the age when individuals transition out of the foster care system, Brian was referred by a social worker to the Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) FYI (foster youth to independence) voucher program. Although he successfully navigated the application process and obtained an FYI voucher, he quickly faced his next hurdle – finding an apartment to finally call his own.

After an extensive search, Brian found what seemed to be the perfect apartment in Tustin. Yet, there were still barriers to using his housing voucher. This was when he was connected to WelcomeHomeOC, who facilitated his move-in by providing the security deposit and ensuring the voucher was applied correctly, working directly with the property owner. Brian’s efforts not only made this apartment obtainable for him to rent, but also creates more opportunities for the other voucher participants who will come after him.

WelcomeHomeOC is a great program; there is nothing like it,” said Brian. “They truly fought above and beyond to make what seemed impossible happen. The people are here to help you and they truly care. It is nice to know you have someone on your side when you need it.”

Brian is approaching one month of living in his new home, and he is happily settling in. Not only is everything new, but thanks to WelcomeHomeOC this is the first place he has been able to call his own. Upon moving in, the team also arranged for some new furnishings including a couch and kitchen table.

“My apartment would not have been attainable without the help of WelcomeHomeOC,” said Brian. “It is more than what I ever expected I would find.”

Brian has dreams of running his own business someday, as well as opening a school for children in the foster care system. As someone who has experienced the system and homelessness firsthand, he knows what a challenge it is to overcome and wants to do his part to give back. Thanks to WelcomeHomeOC, Brian has a stable roof over his head where he can plan his future.

To those who might be struggling or in a similar situation, Brian says, “Never give up. Always keep going, and always better yourself. There is no limit to what you can do, and you can achieve the impossible if you just keep going.”