Sets new goals and gives back to the community
After three years on the streets, sleeping in parks and under bridges, Michael Bailey found his way to HomeStart , which led to an apartment of his own, and now he is able to set some new goals including giving back to the community.
“I became homeless because it was time to leave my mother’s
care,” Michael said. “I knew I needed to make it on my own,
but I found out how hard it was.”
He started his three year journey on the streets, as many people do, by couch surfing in the homes of friends. Eventually, the couches became scarce and Michael found himself on the streets sleeping in parks or under bridges.
This kept up until he was able to get into a shelter and was then referred to HomeStart to start a housing search process. Working with a HomeStart advocate, Michael was able to get a voucher and found housing within seven months.
“The minute I got my keys, I went to the apartment. There was
no bed, so I slept on the floor. I didn’t have to care about rodents
around me,” Michael said.
Because he has a voucher, Michael is a part of the HomeStart stabilization program and has also been placed in the Rep Payee program. These services allow HomeStart to monitor Michael’s progress and help him manage his budget. Michael is proud of the fact that substance abuse was not a part of his being homeless. However, being dyslexic has impeded his education process.
Since being housed, he has been able to learn web design and is looking to take classes to further his knowledge of computers. This is knowledge that Michael is using to help others. He has designed websites for friends trying to promote their businesses and the sites are very lively and interesting to look at.
Housed for seven years, Michael has not forgotten his days on the street or some of the people he has met along the way. When he sees them, he encourages them to get in touch with HomeStart to begin the Housing Search process.
Michael also freely gives advice to people he meets that are just beginning homelessness. “I think it is good when veterans (of the street) step up to help someone that is new to the streets.”
By Doug Wood-Boyle and Tyler Armstrong