Recently we said “see you later” to a resident who has been with us for the past 10 years. Randy started in our emergency shelter, moved through programs, worked locally for 9 years, and saved money to become financially secure enough to move home closer to his family.
No running water and no electricity
Randy is originally from Louisiana. In 2008 he found himself living in Campbell County in a camper trailer with no utilities. He had no running water and no electricity. Randy realized that he wasn’t going to find a job because he was so far away from town and his vehicle wasn’t reliable enough to keep making the trek.
Randy packed his belongings and checked into the emergency shelter. Randy spent his days searching for a job and in 2009 found employment as a cook (a job he would hold for 9 years). Randy remained in the shelter, working and saving money, until 2010 when an apartment was available in what were transitional living apartments at the time. Randy utilized his transitional living stay to apply for Section 8 Housing (a federal rent subsidy program). While in the transitional living program Randy made his health a priority. Randy had struggled with alcohol abuse and wanted to take care of his mental health. Randy was diagnosed with not only mental health disabilities but a physical disability as well. This diagnosis was a bit overwhelming for Randy, but good news was on the way.
Working, saving money, and taking care of his health…
While Randy was working, saving money, and taking care of his health he was informed he had been approved for the Section 8 Housing program (an approval process that can take years). Randy was excited, but apprehensive. Randy wasn’t sure he would find success on his own and was interested in a more supportive living situation. In 2014 an apartment became available in our housing for individuals with mental health disabilities program. Randy made the choice to move into this new apartment and allowed his Section 8 Housing assistance to go to the next person on the waiting list.
In 2016 Randy expressed interest in Social Security Disability benefits. Randy worked with our housing manager, Tracy, to begin the application process. Meanwhile, Randy continued to work the job he had held for 7 years, continued to drive the same vehicle (often needing repairs) and saved money. Randy had a new goal in mind and wanted to be able to move home and be closer to family.
Closer to family
In January of this year, Randy learned he had been awarded Social Security Disability benefits. Randy’s additional and stable income plus his hard-earned savings allowed him to replace his rundown vehicle and finally have reliable transportation. Randy kept his nose to the grindstone and continued to work and save money for the next 6 months. In June, Randy had saved enough money to secure a place to live back home near family and to cover his expenses as he made his way across the country.
When Randy had finished his journey home, he made a point to call. He let us know that he had made it safely and made sure we had his new mailing address.
Thrived with the support you offered
Randy worked hard and thrived with the support you offered the Council. We will really miss Randy, but we know that he is going to be a great addition to his new community.