As we prepare to break ground on Coalition for the Homeless’ upcoming Men’s Service Center, we would like to begin sharing with you the stories of some of the men who have called the Coalition “home” on a nightly basis. Although each of their stories is different, they all believe that the new facility will be tremendously beneficial to homeless men.
Without further ado, meet Roger.
After losing his job in early May, Roger made plans to return to his home state of North Carolina because he felt he had few other options remaining. First, though, he stopped by the Coalition to tell a friend about his situation. At the time, his friend was in the Coalition’s First Steps Shelter Recovery Program for Men and upon hearing this during his visit, Roger inquired about the program. Roger had been using drugs and alcohol for several years, and the Coalition’s unique substance abuse recovery program sounded like it might be just what he needed in order to turn things around. He recalls, “The more [my friend] told me about the program, the more interested I became… I thought, ‘This is something I want to do.’”
Roger was accepted into the First Steps Shelter Recovery Program only a few days later. This was the beginning of his journey to a better life. During the four month component of the First Steps program, he attended classes two to three times a day, alongside fellow clients. First Steps includes a variety of services, from 12-step recovery meetings to anger management and yoga. While battling his addictions, health issues that had previously taken a back seat to his habits emerged as well. With the Coalition’s help, however, Roger was directed to clinics that have helped uncover and address some of these problems.
In October 2011, Roger moved into the First Steps Transitional Housing Program, which offers housing in nine on-site transitional apartments to men who have completed the Shelter Recovery component or a similar substance abuse recovery program. This six to eight month program offers clients the opportunity to grow in their recovery, discuss real life issues, learn relapse prevention techniques and benefit from group support.
In addition to working on his own path to independence, Roger facilitates on-site AA/NA meetings and also helps out with the dinner meal in the Men’s Pavilion each night. “Throughout the process,” he said, “I discovered that I have a gift to help others. This place has helped me so much while asking for nothing in return, so I feel like I need to do my part.”
While smiling, Roger admits that he, like many, used to avoid the Coalition because he had the misconception that it was a place for “low lifes.” But after visiting the campus and seeing a friend’s life transform firsthand, he realized how much he, too, could benefit from the services and programs that are offered. At the end of our conversation, Roger shared his enthusiasm for the Coalition’s upcoming Men’s Service Center. He is confident that the new facility will be of great assistance to the most underserved population of the homeless, single men.
Stay tuned for more Coalition men’s stories and for updates on Roger, as he continues along his path to self-sufficiency!