"I Feel Like a Person Now"
Ray’s life changed when he lost his job and consequently his home. While homeless, he says he was ashamed, depressed, and scared. Since finding housing, Ray’s outlook has improved and he looks forward to his future.
How did you find housing through SAVE, Inc.?
I had an HIV case manager who told me about SAVE in 2005.
When I lost my job of 13 years, everything started coming down hard on me. I always worked and was used to doing things on my own, but then I was downsized, so had to move in with a friend. When he lost his place, I stayed in shelters. I was not used to not having. When I worked, I could buy and do the things I wanted.
Being homeless is so hard. I was ashamed - I didn’t want people to say “he’s homeless because he wants to be homeless.” Plus, it’s very nerve-racking living on the streets – people who are living on the street are very short-tempered.
But, I didn’t want to wallow in the mud; I had too much self-respect for that.
How are you today?
I’m a church-goer again. I like living on my own, but I do feel lonely sometimes. I don’t like to talk about personal things – I don’t want to give people ammunition. I like to keep things on a ‘need to know’ basis.
So, I attended the monthly lunch & learn at Good Samaritan Project yesterday and plan to go again – it gives me the opportunity to talk to people who understand.
Tomorrow, I’m applying for a couple of jobs. So, things are going pretty well.
Besides having a roof over your head, how has housing helped you?
Having housing has taken away many worries. My mental health has improved – I’m a happy camper now. I also feel more whole. I feel like a person now, not a machine or a number.