Kenny and Misty, TRM's Housing Stabilization Supervisor
AUGUST 2021 NEWSLETTER
For many of us, having a home is a basic human necessity we often take for granted. Having a place to come home to at the end of the day, to shelter us when we’re sick, to provide rest when we’re weary - it’s hard to imagine life without it. The thought of having nowhere to go in our most vulnerable moments, no roof over our head when we sleep and no door to close and lock behind us sounds like something out of a nightmare.
But for people like Kenny, a former guest of TRM, the nightmare of having no home or space of one’s own has been a reality for most of his life. Having fought a 43-year-long battle with meth and heroin, for over 40 years “home” for Kenny was sleeping on people’s couches, under bridges and in parks, and in tents and sleeping bags exposed to the elements.
Kenny first came to TRM ten years ago, having run out of friends to provide him with shelter or a couch to sleep on. His last friend had asked him to leave and he had no where else to go. However, unable to overcome his addiction, Kenny left TRM within a short time, becoming one of the unsheltered homeless.
Two years later TRM’s Street Reach team received a call from a community member about “a homeless guy passed out in the back of a business on Kansas Avenue, strung out on drugs.” The person they called about was Kenny.
Years of addiction and hard living had taken their toll until doctors told him it was a miracle his heart was still beating. His weight was so low his body could barely function. He couldn’t move, speak or walk normally. TRM’s Street Reach team found Kenny and asked if he wanted help. He said “Absolutely,” and TRM brought him to Valeo for a 28-day detox.
It would not be the only time Kenny would detox - for the next few years he would enter and leave TRM and Valeo several times, unable to stay clean longer than a few months. But eventually with the help of TRM, Valeo and various community organizations who never gave up on him, “Something clicked,” he said, and he’s now been clean and sober for over three and a half years.
While staying at TRM Kenny was hired to work the front desk at the mens’s shelter. He enrolled in TRM’s housing program and was helped to obtain permanent housing. “It was awesome,” he said, “They really helped me. They said what they meant and they meant what they said, and they stuck by it. There were no hiccups, there were no bumps in the road, nothing.” He describes working with TRM as a smooth process that helped him get his ID, birth certificate, and take steps to pay off bills and save for a deposit for an apartment.
When we first interviewed Kenny in November of last year, his greatest hope was one day to have a home of his own. Today, at 61 years old, Kenny finally has a home of his own for the first time in over 43 years.
When asked how it feels, Kenny beams with pride. “It’s my own little castle,” he says. “It’s awesome. I love it...it’s quite relaxing.” He’s already started thinking about renovation ideas and getting a dog, and has invited guests over for a house warming. He’s entered into a serious relationship for the first time in many years and is healthy enough to ride his bike to and from his job at TRM daily, a living testament to others like him that there is life, love, and hope even after years of addiction and homelessness.
It is our mission at TRM to bring help and hope to those the world has turned away from, but we don’t do it alone. Your love, generosity and support makes all the difference in the world for people like Kenny. With you, we are able to come alongside the broken and the hurting and help them change their lives for the better. Thank you for being a faithful supporter of TRM and making all the difference for Kenny and the many others like him!
“It was an honor to be a part of Kenny becoming permanently housed. I don’t believe I have ever met someone so grateful, and so determined to become housed as Kenny. Kenny had a very long history of homelessness, and it was obvious he entered the Mission determined to never return to the streets. He was an excellent advocate for himself and made our jobs easier!”