Six years ago, Timothy was just like anyone in their mid-twenties. He held a full-time job in a warehouse while attending Valencia College for computer programming. “I had a full and active life,” he says. “I enjoyed what I was doing and had goals for the future.”
Then, one day at work, he felt a pain in his left arm. “It just went downhill after that,” he says. The pain became progressively worse until he was forced to seek medical attention. It wasn’t a moment too soon. Timothy was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was osteosarcoma, which is a bone tumor, in my left bicep. I ended up having seven surgeries, because I kept going back to the warehouse to work. That was the only thing I knew how to do.” But it wasn’t long before his condition left him unable to work or go to school.
At first, he found single rooms to rent, but with no income, he couldn’t keep up with his expenses. Eventually, Timothy began staying in various shelters, the streets, and even abandoned buildings.
“When I became homeless, I lost faith in a lot of things,” he says with tears in his eyes. “I was depressed and worried about where I was going to sleep and what was going to happen to me. You just try to get through it day by day.”
“One time, it was winter and super cold outside, so I found a condo that no one was in. I slept on a mattress on the floor for a couple of days, until I started getting bites all over me. Come to find out, the place was infested with bedbugs.”
After spending five hard years on the streets, he was determined to get out of his situation. That is when he turned to the Coalition.
Immediately, Timothy and his case manager, Donald focused on getting him housing-ready. “Donald gave me a list of things that I had to get together, like my birth certificate, forms, and applications. I went through a checklist,” he says. While in the Men’s Service Center, he was also able to reapply for financial aid and resume going to classes, bringing his career goals within sight once again.
But the greatest moment came when Timothy was approved for an apartment through our community’s Permanent Supportive Housing program. “The first morning I woke up in my apartment and I remember thinking, ‘Am I really here right now?’” he says.
“I’m going through an adjustment period, because it’s the first home I’ve ever had to myself. You hear about people who get released from prison. They get out, and they are trying to adjust to their new lives. That’s kind of what it feels like now. Honestly, the first couple of nights, I slept on the floor next to my bed,” he confesses.
Today, Timothy is settling into his new home, finishing up his classes, and looking forward to a career in computer programming. “I just want to thank the Coalition for helping me out. It’s because of this program that I have my own apartment and can move forward with my life.”
Thank you for making Timothy’s journey home possible. Through your support nearly 1,000 of our guests have moved from homelessness to permanent housing in the past year alone.