It has not been easy for Steve S. to find a place to call home. For years he has jumped from place to place living with various friends and going through all sorts of jobs. Steve also faced several illnesses such as pneumonia and Lyme disease that took him out of commission for quite some time. Through it all, Steve never gave up hope that things would get better. Rather than get down on himself, he found that he was more resourceful than he ever thought possible. When Steve found himself in a sticky situation, such as being evicted, he lived homeless for a while, but no heat, cold showers, and the onset of winter were not enough to deter Steve from persevering. When given a final warning of eviction, Steve contacted Pathstone and they were able to find him housing in Saugerties, NY with the assistance of Lisa M. and Multi-County at Paras House.
Steve recalls, “My time at Paras House was both educational and enjoyable. I learned a lot about myself and lived with diverse groups of people. At first, it was a bit difficult and some unpleasant words were exchanged, but overall we worked things out and lived in peace. For me it was sanctuary, a time to reflect and be free from all the stresses I was currently going through. I was more than warm; I had a roof over my head and food in my belly. Life was good! Come springtime, I got to work transforming, installing, and cleaning the Paras House landscape. I even fenced-in a vegetable garden out back. The vegetable garden was a huge success as we used the produce in home-cooked meals for the family. This also afforded me to share my cooking experience; we all ate well.”
Steve had honestly found a community where he was comfortable. Because of this close-knit family, he was able to recover from what was diagnosed as “Disseminated Lyme disease.” He states, “I accredit Lisa with making me feel so welcome and safe. She would often go out of her way to accommodate the needs of all of us in times of emergencies. With open arms and kindness, she is truly a special lady.”
When Paras House closed, Lisa secured Steve into RUPCO’s HOPWA program. With less than a month’s notice to vacate Paras House, Lisa worked diligently to find a new place for Steve to live. Steve said, “This was the first place we saw and I accepted it after checking it out. The space was more than adequate; it was in the perfect location. Since I did not own a car, having the stores in close proximity was awesome.”
Overall Steve reflects, “When I met the RUPCO staff at the office I found them to be super nice and very welcoming. I feel as though I struck gold. I was recently was cut off by Walmart’s workman’s compensation insurer but Lisa, who also transferred to RUPCO after Paras House, brought this to the attention of her supervisor. They continued to work with me until my situation changed. I am so grateful for these fine and caring people. I feel very blessed. Amazing people can do amazing things. I’m living proof.”
Emily Lazo is RUPCO’s Editorial Assistant to Communications. She is a student at SUNY New Paltz double-majoring in English and Communication and Media with a concentration in Intercultural/Interpersonal.