“I’ve learned that all at once you can lose everything. That’s why I’m so grateful for organizations like Step Up. Sometimes you just need a little help to get back on your feet.”
William found out he was losing his home just days after his aunt passed away.
For the last several years he had lived with her – quitting his job and working graveyard shifts at a discount store to provide her with full-time in-home care as she aged. During that time, her house had become his home, too. However, a heated family battle in the wake of his aunt’s death stripped William of the home he was set to inherit from her. Unable to afford the legal battle, William packed what he could into his old Ford Explorer and left. He was 59 years old.
“Money was tight, and everything happened so fast,” said William. “When I lost the house, I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”
That night William pulled his car into the parking lot behind a nearby baseball field. He made a makeshift bed in the backseat to get what rest he could and began planning his next move. But William found that once he lost housing, it was hard to get it back.
For the next two years, that parking lot became his home, and that backseat his bed. He cooked meals on a Coleman camping stove. When his car finally broke down, he resorted to sleeping in a tent. For two more years, he experienced unsheltered homelessness. As he inched into his early 60s, William knew something had to change.
“It felt like I was carrying around two tons of bricks on my shoulders,” said William. “When I finally found Step Up it was like letting go of the weight. It was such a relief.”
William worked with Step Up to find the right combination of programs and services that would help him get back on his feet. He became one of the first residents at Step Up’s new housing development in his community specifically for seniors. Now at 64 years old, he has his own newly renovated studio apartment and a rich array of supportive services.
“I broke down in tears thinking about it,” said William. “There’s security and peace of mind. It’s stable here. Step Up has provided the resources and guidelines to help me out and put me on the right track. I’m so thankful for the organization and the people who put the effort in to get me where I am now.”
Today, William is focused on rebuilding. He’s getting his health in order and building his savings account. Mostly, he loves being a part of the Step Up community. Most days you can find him cooking or baking for other residents and offering a helping hand where he can.
“Some people look at me, or other members, and say ‘Well, you don’t seem homeless.’ I know I don’t look homeless,” said William, “but I have been. It can happen to anyone.”
William’s story of recovery is made possible in part thanks to the programs and services supported by people like you. To help bring more people like William home, make a donation today!