I was homeless, on and off for 30 years. I never finished high school and never achieved a GED. I had a job that paid $5.15 an hour, but it was impossible to live off of that. I became homeless. I slept outside, usually under a bridge. I would ask for spare change or eat out of garbage cans.
Someone I knew downtown recommended Friendship Place. I liked upper northwest – it was safer than downtown. When I first came into Friendship Place I was surprised. It looked like a house, complete with a living room setting. The people were so friendly. My caseworker, Wendy Guyton, gave me inspiration to help me help myself. She believed in me. I saw the psychiatrist – Dr. Keisling – he is a godsend and the doctor who gave me medicine to stop my seizures. Every week, Wendy asked me if I took my medicine.
Wendy helped get me on Social Security Disability Insurance so that I could get a monthly check. I was then able to get my apartment on Idaho Avenue. I have a phone and am in the phonebook. I know it sounds silly – but having a phone and mailbox makes me part of community. I am no longer a homeless statistic. I am part of your community, or should I say our community.
I am now on the Board of St. Luke’s Shelter – from homeless to resident of St. Luke’s Shelter, to Board member – I am very proud. I am glad I could speak today about all the wonderful things Friendship Place has done for me.