Joe’s Path to a Secure and Healthy Future

“If it hadn’t been for [my caseworker] I wouldn’t be here. I’d still be on the street, point blank, I’d still be homeless,” says TrueNorth Community Services’ housing participant Joe.

November is Homeless Awareness Month – putting a spotlight on what it means for people who are homeless and how the community can help. Homelessness takes a number of different forms. From sleeping on city benches to living in tents in national forests, many of our neighbors like Joe need a hand up.

For Joe, having the support and guidance of TrueNorth made all the difference in his journey. Joe had lost his home and spent time in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation facilities for health reasons. He became connected to TrueNorth after he was found living in his storage unit with nowhere else to go.

Having step-by-step guidance from TrueNorth was critical to Joe getting housed, especially with his health conditions. Joe is legally blind and has mobility issues, needing a walker to get around safely. His caseworker helped with all of his housing applications and anything else needed. Fourteen applications later, Joe had applied for housing in as many places as he could to find his new home.

With TrueNorth’s help, Joe was able to stay in a motel for an extended period due to his vulnerable situation while he waited to hear about an apartment. Joe’s caseworker provided him with resources for long-term shelter, but Joe chose not to use them. Joe was able to pay for another three weeks in the motel on his own when he hadn’t heard back from any apartment complex. 

Unfortunately, after weeks in the motel, Joe still did not have a place to go. The motel manager helped Joe bring his belongings to his storage unit. From there, Joe went back to the hospital due to poor health. Homelessness continued to take its toll on Joe.

He was discharged that night and walked to his estranged sister’s apartment but could only stay there one night. The next night, Joe was found in the park by a kid from a local church. Thankfully, the church paid for Joe to live in a campground nearby for a month.

Joe’s caseworker continued to check in with him at the campground, making sure they were doing everything possible to get Joe safely housed. “No matter where I landed, even when I was in the streets, she found a way,” says Joe about working with his caseworker. “She came out to the campground, letting me know what was going on.”

Joe did not have anyone else in his life to help him or offer any kind of support and encouragement. But, TrueNorth made sure he didn’t feel alone. Besides working to get him housed, Joe’s caseworker spent hours in conversation with him, encouraging him not to give up. 

After months of waiting, Joe finally found housing in a local apartment that was accessible and in a safe area, giving him an added sense of security.

Besides guiding Joe through his entire housing process, TrueNorth connected him to other resources so he could live self-sufficiently. Joe now is set up to have people help clean his apartment, with his medications and read his mail to him. He also was connected with a place to get furniture for his apartment. With these resources, Joe is on his way to a healthier, more sustainable life.

Joe says, “I’m just looking forward to being able to live like a human being once more.” 

Many members of our community face similar challenges as Joe. To meet our neighbors’ needs, TrueNorth works personally with each individual–meeting them where they are and guiding them to a safer, brighter future.

TrueNorth’s top priority is to first find housing, reducing the physical and emotional effects of homelessness, and then develop a long-term plan to end homelessness for each person experiencing it.

You can get involved at TrueNorth Community Services to help our neighbors. With the weather turning colder, many people who are homeless will be living in unsafe conditions. Whether you donate, volunteer, advocate or help in any way you can, you can be confident you are offering a hand up to our neighbors in need. 

Click here to get involved and keep everyone in our community healthy and secure this month and beyond.