Michael was a successful kitchen supervisor at Emmanuel College, until the degenerative effects of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the death of his mother changed his entire life. He had been working and living with her when he was diagnosed with MS in 2006. Four months after she passed away, he found himself homeless and then became physically handicapped soon after.
“I didn’t want to live with family or friends,” Michael said. “I had to leave work and a lot changed, but I’m stubborn in a good way. I don’t give up.” He then entered into the shelter system. “The shelters were hard. I had to deal with people with different issues,” he recalled.
After reaching out to HomeStart, a Housing Search advocate was able to place him into the Cambridge YMCA. He then worked with Stabilization advocates, until one of them was able to place him into his present, spacious, one-bedroom apartment in East Cambridge. He also reclaimed some of his mother’s furniture from storage, and HomeStart was able to draw on funds provided by the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF) to help with up-front costs.
Permanent housing has made it easier for Michael to deal with the issues surrounding his MS. It has given him the space to do the exercises that will help him to keep mobile. “To me, East Cambridge is a nice place because it is diverse,” he said. “I am greatly appreciative of HomeStart. Without HomeStart, I don’t know where I would be right now.”