Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Best Present He Ever Had

When a dispute over housing conditions couldn’t be resolved, Doug was evicted. Like so many of ourstruggling neighbors, the odds were stacked against him as he searched for a place to live.

“With credit scores, the high cost of rentals and especially an eviction on my record,” Doug says, “my efforts were in vain.”

Finally, with his few belongings tucked away in a storage locker, he laid his sleeping bag beside a church. His church, Our Lady of Grace.

“I grew up there. I was confirmed there,” he shares, recalling memories of a different time.

Once a prominent executive, a series of accidents and major health issues eroded Doug’s independence . . . and life slowly crumbled around him. Now, it seemed, God had called him back to this church to start again.

A member of the congregation noticed the homeless man living in their midst. “That gentleman referred me to St. Vincent de Paul, and they’ve helped me unbelievably,” Doug says. He is especially grateful to SVdPLA board member Adrian Dena, who became a trusted friend and played a prominent role in the assistance process and Doug’s recovery.

As a friend of St. Vincent de Paul, your compassionate generosity enabled us to meet Doug’s most pressing needs. We paid for his storage locker and gave him gift cards and vouchers for items that allowed him to preserve his dignity and self-respect.

“I always tried to keep myself looking nice and in shape,” he says. “Not with raggedy or ripped up clothes, or with matted, dirty hair.”

And last December, when subsidized housing became available, SVdPLA provided the deposit. “I had a pretty good feeling the last night I slept outside the church that it would be my last night of being homeless,” Doug recalls, his eyes moist with tears.

“I moved in two days before Christmas. It was the best present I ever had.”

Perhaps the second best gift Doug received was the piano we helped move into his new home. He’s played since he was a child and was excited to begin practicing again. “Being homeless isn’t very conducive to playing the piano,” he says, now with laughter in his eyes.

But Doug’s experience with homelessness has given him the opportunity to share his hard-earned wisdom with others. Today, he serves as an advocate for elderly homeless individuals.

“St. Vincent de Paul has definitely made a difference in my life,” he says. And in return, he’s making a difference for his neighbors, as you did for him.

To help SVdPLA help others, donate here.

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