A few years ago, after the sudden death of his father and brother, Sean faced a tragic foreclosure. After filing bankruptcy in the wake of his family members’ deaths, Sean found himself with six days to move out of his father’s home and find affordable housing. Sean worked diligently and found an apartment that his security guard salary could sustain, but broke his leg soon after, and was terminated from his job after three months of disability leave.
Once Sean’s unemployment benefits ran out, he found himself facing eviction and homelessness. During the first few weeks of homelessness Sean would walk around grocery stores and other 24-hour businesses each night to avoid sleeping on the streets. Eventually, Sean called United Way’s 211 hotline and was able to connect with various community services. When the 211 operator found out that Sean had a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa, she immediately connected him with the Center for the Visually Impaired.
As soon as he began classes at the Center, Sean was referred to Gateway’s Training Support Program, which houses men who are enrolled in school or skill-building courses. After six months of living at Gateway and receiving intensive case management, Sean was prepared to move into his own apartment. He now lives in permanent income based housing and volunteers with the United Way 211 hotline, answering calls from individuals in the same position he was in almost a year ago.
“Now I am able to help others- it wasn’t too long ago that I was on the other end of that 211 phone line”, Sean remarks. “Gateway gave me a platform to get my life constructed again.”