Creating Opportunities

Thanks to many partners, 3,500 Mercy Housing Lakefront residents live in hope.  Your support makes it possible for them to achieve their goals and dreams.

Ms. Jones and her children, Marques, Milaun, Jashiyah and Joshua at the Bears Care holiday party field trip coordinated by Austin Resident Services staff.
Ms. Jones and her children, Marques, Milaun, Jashiyah and Joshua at the Bears Care holiday party field trip coordinated by Austin Resident Services staff.

Through your generosity, families like the Jones family have been able to reach their full potential.

Schiolynn Jones, a mother of four, turned to Mercy Housing Lakefront after a divorce left her without a stable home for her children.  Since becoming a resident, Schiolynn has worked to further her education and provide new opportunities for her family.

“I try to set examples for my children,” Ms. Jones shared.

And she has done just that. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Westwood College in just two and a half years, and is now utilizing one of Mercy Housing Lakefront’s computer labs to perfect her resume and apply for jobs.

“Mercy Housing has helped me so much,” said Ms. Jones. “I was able to focus on caring for my four children and earn my degree without worrying about where we would be living next.”

Her eldest son, Marques, is now following in her footsteps after receiving a Daniel Murphy scholarship for his high school education. As a Daniel Murphy Scholar, he was chosen among 1,200 eighth-grade applicants to receive a scholarship to La Lumiere School in LaPorte, Indiana. In addition to his studies, he is excited to play on the school’s football team.

Ms. Jones credits the resident services staff for their assistance and guidance throughout the scholarship application process.

“I enjoy all of the one-on-one time they offer. I feel like they are always there to help support you,” she said. “Living here has been a huge blessing for my family.”

Your support also provides homeless individuals like Ollie Mason a chance to escape living on the street and to transform their lives.

After struggling to overcome several difficult periods in her life, Ollie found herself out of touch with her family and living in shelters.

Ollie Mason tends to the neighborhood garden.
Ollie Mason tends to the neighborhood garden.

A man approached her while she was waiting in line at a soup kitchen. She was skeptical. But he shared news that may have saved her life—Mercy Housing Lakefront was seeking resident applications. After waiting outdoors overnight for the chance to apply for an apartment, she later learned she was the newest Mercy Housing Lakefront resident. She would no longer be homeless.

Nearly a year and a half has passed since Ollie moved into the renovated Harold Washington Apartments, and she has quite simply transformed her life.

“My life has changed tremendously,” Ollie shared. “I feel so much better about myself and my future.”

She has found purpose again through her passion for cooking and, through our Tenant Leadership project, volunteers in her building as well as in the neighborhood garden.

Her plan is to combine her passions and utilize the fruits and vegetables from the garden this summer to cook meals for a local soup kitchen. While serving at the soup kitchen, she hopes to help by counseling currently homeless women and by reminding them that there is hope for a better future.

“I love serving people, and it makes me feel good to help others,” she said.

Ollie has also taken control of her health since becoming a resident of Mercy Housing, and has even joined the Art Therapy Program being offered to residents.

“Before Mercy Housing I was ashamed of my life. Now I have a reason to live and smile.”

To learn more about how you can help support others like the Jones family and Ollie, please visit