GeorgeGeorge may not remember exactly when his life changed, but he definitely remembers why.
“Somebody stuck a needle in my arm, and that was it,” he said, quietly reflecting on how quickly drugs had turned his life “upside down.” As an environmental redeveloper for a major homebuilder, he had earned $170,000 a year and lived on his family’s farm in Georgia. But after moving to the Bay Area, he developed a drug dependence he has fought ever since.
His addiction left him penniless, homeless, and skeptical about ever rebuilding his life through drug rehab that “wasn’t as progressive as I would have liked it to have been.” And he knew that drug treatment alone would not be enough. Even during rehab, “you’re still broke, you’re still looking for something to do,” he said.
George’s successful career and home life had degenerated into a borderless street existence, void of simple direction or distinction. “I used to push five shopping carts around,” he said, remembering the almost stereotypical daily routine he assumed as someone with no permanent shelter or promising prospects.
Still chemically dependent, George finally found housing, only to learn that if he wanted to live with his partner, Christina, he would no longer qualify for it. “There was no way without a bunch of red tape,” he said. So he gave up that option, determined to find a home for both of them. “That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it goes,” he said.
George and Christina came to Project Homeless Connect to find housing they could share, and they soon received a list of organizations that could help. “I’ve been homeless six years and never had any resources, ” said Christina, who was familiar with Glide Memorial and other local nonprofits but not PHC. On her first visit, she liked what she saw. “It’s all a surprise, actually,” she said. “It’s well put together.”
George, who first told Christina about PHC, soon realized that the “all-in-one” design of its multi-service program had advantages over the individual resources offered at other facilities. “It’s a lot easier, it being all combined,” he said.
But while working with PHC’s staff, Christina admitted she had a personal priority even greater than finding housing: seeing her children. Yet she couldn’t visit Crystal, Joseph, and twins Ryan and Brandon – all in their 20s and living in Washington state – without some assistance. PHC provided it through its Homeward Bound program, allowing Christina to make the trip that had been her wish for over four years.
And she wouldn’t be traveling alone. George, who cited their relationship as an important part of his ongoing rehabilitation, also looked forward to seeing her “beautiful kids” and further detaching himself from that moment when drugs overtook his life. “It’s been a journey since,” Christina said.