“The bottom fell out when the pandemic hit. The founder of the organization I was working for passed away due to complications from the virus, and the company closed. I lived off my savings while pursuing back pay from the company until I could no longer afford to make rent. I was on the verge of homelessness for the second time in my life.”
I have faced homelessness twice in my life. At 16, I fled an abusive homelife and lived alone in a tent until I could enlist in the military. I served in the United States Army Reserves for 8 years. During that time, I obtained my GED, a college degree, and post-graduate degrees. Later, I started my family, and I was living a wonderful life, until tragedy struck in 2012. It was a car accident. Nobody to blame, just a random accident. I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of it, but that was a fool’s errand. I sort of gave up after that for a while...a long while.
My friends helped me put my life together back together in 2016. That same year I started working remotely for a startup company that specialized in predictive analytics. I was a freelance writer for the organization focusing on explaining the mathematics behind everyday life. Then the bottom fell out when the pandemic hit. The founder of the organization I was working for passed away due to complications from the virus, and the company closed. I lived off my savings while pursuing back pay from the company until I could no longer afford to make rent. I was on the verge of homelessness for the second time in my life.
I reached out to the Durango Community Shelter in late January. To be honest I called almost as an afterthought. I heard they were operating at reduced capacity because of the pandemic and did not have any space. I really did not have a plan B. I was unaware that the Durango Community Shelter maintains a bed for veterans, but when I was made aware, I moved in the following day. With a safe place to stay, I began to pick up the pieces. It is difficult to explain but after the events of 2012, I became self-destructive, and while I broke out of that cycle, I really had not addressed it in a healthy manner. The shelter has given me the opportunity to do that.
I have since entered the Volunteers of America’s Veteran Grant Per Diem program. I meet weekly with the VOA Veteran Case Manager, and we are formulating a path forward. Relying on my educational training in predictive analytics and my passion for writing, I have sold two articles. My goal is to stabilize my finances, my emotions, and most importantly my mental health. I have to give credit to the staff and the shelter for making this possible. The staff is a small group of really amazing people who genuinely care for the residents and make it easier for the residents to take the necessary steps forward. The shelter provides a safe and secure environment for that growth. The Durango Community Shelter is an incredible resource of which the entire community should be proud.