“I always had a house and food. I never had to worry before. But now I had nothing, and it seemed impossible to find help.”
Allan had been living in his apartment for more than a year when he got the notice that his lease was being terminated. He was in the midst of recovering from a traumatic assault he experienced while working as an unarmed security guard. After the incident, Allan left his job to maintain his safety. The reason for his lease termination? Loss of employment.
“I was so angry,” said Allan. “The landlord gave me no time to pack my belongings. I left the apartment that day with just a backpack and the clothes on my back.”
Allan had come to the big city eager to leave behind his childhood in rural Oregon, yet all at once things started to crumble. A future that had once seemed so hopeful, was now scary and uncertain. He was only 18 years old.
For weeks Allan tried to figure out his next step. Going home was not an option. His adoptive family was caring and supportive, but his relationship with his parents had become strained over the last few years. He was disconnected from his biological parents and without a support system, he had no place to go.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Allan. “I had worked so hard to get the job and apartment. I felt like I had been reduced to nothing overnight.”
Over the next year, Allan experienced homelessness, surviving on the kindness of strangers and those few items he had managed to throw in his backpack.
“I had always had a house and food. I never had to worry before. But now I had nothing, and it seemed impossible to find help. At one point, I was walking around the city in 28-degree weather with just shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops,” said Allan.
When an old friend reached out and offered to help, Allan knew it was his best shot at rebuilding his life. He jumped at the opportunity, grabbed what he fit in his backpack, and made his way to Santa Monica.
“That call changed everything. I was hopeful for the first time in a long time and ready to not be homeless anymore.”
With the help of his friend, Allan quickly found Daniel’s Place – Step Up’s drop-in center for young adults.
“Daniel’s Place was a safe place I could go for meals and a hot shower,” said Allan. “I worked with case management and used the mental health services offered. The only word I can think of to describe finding Daniel’s Place is relief. It was like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders.”
Allan also worked with the housing navigators at Daniel’s Place to find a new place to live. It took a year of waiting – a difficult year when Allan was often sleeping on the street or on the beach. But finally, the day came. More than two years after he first experienced homelessness, Step Up called Allan to tell him he was getting his own apartment.
“Honestly, it was the best day of my life!” said Allan. “I love having my own place and Step Up even helped me furnish it!”
Allan is now in a rebuilding phase of his life. In the coming years, he plans to move, pursue his lifelong goal of starting a fishing business, and give back.
“I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if Step Up and Daniel’s Place didn’t exist,” said Allan. “Looking back on when I was homeless to now… there’s a drastic difference. I can only see myself moving forward, and I dream about changing other people’s lives too.”
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