40% of Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless.

If that’s hard for you to picture, you’re not alone. Katrina Bostick, who started her career in social work, had seen her fair share of human tragedy and yet she still didn’t realize how close she was to the homelessness epidemic.

“Like many of us, I had a specific picture in my head when I heard the term homeless,” Bostick said. “The images are devastating—people living in underpasses, sleeping on sidewalks and the like.”

Because of this perception, she said she mostly focused on helping other groups that needed assistance aside from those who were houseless while completing field work for her master’s degree. But with the help of her then manager that supervised her field work, she became open to the possibility of supporting misplaced individuals. It was then that she said her career merged with her true purpose.

“A lightbulb went off,” Bostick said. “These are families I connected to when I went to a Walmart or a Starbucks or Target, you know, everyday life, not knowing that when I left to get in my car, the car next to me was actually somebody’s home.”

This newfound passion for homelessness intervention led her to begin part-time work in 2013 with Family Promise of the Coastal Empire, a Georgia-based organization that focuses on providing resources to low-income families.

“I’d completed my practicum with Family Promise after I graduated with the master’s, but I continued to stay connected to the organization and asked the then executive director, ‘how can I help?’ And she told me I could pick up where she left off because she was leaving for another opportunity. That’s when my life truly changed.”

She was appointed executive director of Family Promise’s Savannah, Georgia chapter in 2015. Then in 2020, became the director of the newly formed Family Promise of the Coastal Empire, the result of a merger between Savannah, Effingham and Bryan County affiliates. She spends time building programs designed to support families with housing resources, jobs and skill development. One of the latest initiatives includes a partnership with Google, in which about 2,500 scholarships were to earn various Google certifications.

“These are self paced training that individuals can connect to to help increase their income, and enable them to work from anywhere so that those families that may have barriers with childcare would learn an extremely employable skill to help move them out of poverty. Because that’s the ultimate goal. How do we not only break the cycle of homelessness with families that we connect to, but how do we move these families out of poverty?”

For her, that’s what it’s all about.