With his mother and sister smiling proudly at his side, Omar, a formerly homeless recovering drug addict, attended HomeStart’s Annual Gala. It was here he shook hands with Governor Deval Patrick and was able to tell his moving life-story to over 200 guests, including the elite of Boston’s financial community.
In an interview after the event, which was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Omar said, “It is an unbelievable feeling, a miracle, to come from the street life and drug life, to be in front of a crowd like that.”
Omar’s story started when he was 15 years old, growing up in a “good family,” in Dorchester. He started running with the ‘wrong crowd’ and got hooked on drugs.
Although homeless, he fathered a son who is now 23 years old. He admitted that he and his son do not share the closeness of a typical father-son relationship, due to Omar’s drug history.
“We talk, but due to drug addiction, we do not have that bond,” Omar said. He also admitted that he was caught stealing in order to “pay for drugs.” At 37, he hit his rock bottom and remembers that cold, rainy day very well. “I went into a doorway and realized I was tired of having nothing.”
It was at that point when thoughts of suicide crept into his mind. However, he was able to find the strength to deter those thoughts, and then entered a detox facility. After joining two different programs, he was referred to HomeStart during his involvement with Project Shore in Quincy. HomeStart was successful in helping Omar find his own apartment.
He would like to get a job where he can help others who are struggling find their road to recovery. He has been clean and sober for three years and has had his own place to live for the last several months. His next goal is to start taking classes for his General Education Development (GED®) diploma.
“I can walk into my own building and see my own name on the mailbox,” Omar said. “Every day I learn something new,” he added. “Right now I’m on disability, but I want to get a job. I’ve got my own bank account and am straightening out my credit.” During his speech, Omar mentioned how he hoped to get a computer to help him with his schoolwork. A donor then stepped forward and told Omar that he will soon have a computer in his apartment.
“There are not enough words for me to describe how grateful I am to HomeStart. I have my own key, my own mailbox. HomeStart gave me more than a place to live, they gave me a chance. HomeStart saved me.”