Kevin was born in Akron, OH and lived most of his life in the area, and spent time in Florida, as well. He went through an employment training program offered by North Point. After Kevin completed the training program, he was placed in a job at a factory where he worked for three years. Unfortunately, Kevin and other staff were laid off from the factory, and he found himself homeless.
He was staying at the men’s shelter located at 2100 Lakeside and decided to enroll back in the training program with North Point, in the hopes of finding new employment. As part of the training program, Kevin received an assessment and was diagnosed with a mental illness. He spent some time in the hospital, and then received outpatient care while doctors tried to find the best prescription medicine for his illness.
Kevin thought he would need to stay in the men’s shelter until he could find gainful employment again. He said he was surprised to find out that he was eligible for housing in a permanent supportive housing building. He recalled: “When I was at 2100, I didn’t know there were places like this, that were this nice, where I could build my future”.
Kevin moved into The Liberty in October of 2014. Kevin says he feels very independent living at the The Liberty. He stated that prior to this move, it had been very difficult to integrate consistent activities and behaviors into his life. He credits his case worker from FrontLine Services for telling him about permanent supportive housing and assisting him in moving in.
When asked what advice he might give others who struggle with homelessness, Kevin affirmed: “Be willing to accept help and work on your health”. He speaks very highly of Gerald, the property manager and stated: “The staff here have a difficult job to do, but they all pull together to make it safe and supportive for all of us”.
Kevin spends a large amount of his time volunteering at the Ohio City Bike Co-Op. We reached out to Erik Anderson, the volunteer coordinator at the Co-Op, and he had wonderful things to say about Kevin:
“Kevin is one of our favorite volunteers. He is definitely one of the more focused and dedicated people who support us. What's more important to know about Kevin, is that he has spent a large portion of the credits that he earns here, selflessly helping people in similar stations in life as himself to secure bicycles, and he also helps to maintain them. Wow. Kevin is definitely a big part of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op family.”
When we asked Kevin what his goals for the future were, he shared that he has 3 goals for 2018 that he’s focusing on with his case worker: 1. Maintaining his health, 2. Deepening his spirituality, and 3. Getting his driver’s license back. His long-term goal is to find gainful employment, again.
We are so happy that EDEN’s permanent supportive housing has helped Kevin maintain his health and independence, and is enabling him to work towards achieving his goals. We are so proud to know that Kevin is on the right path to achieving his dreams for 2018, and beyond!
For more information on the Ohio City Bike Co-Op check out their website here: http://ohiocitycycles.org/
Michele joined the coast guard on her 18th birthday in 1976. She was honorably discharged after being diagnosed with a spine deformity. She went on to work at the Urban League of Cleveland, the IRS and Veterans Affairs office, all doing secretarial work. She typed nearly 100 words per minute and said she loved the quick pace of office work. In 1998, she suffered a heart attack at the young age of 40. Unable to work, she moved back in with her mother.
For years, Michele struggled with medical complications and issues with medications. After her mother’s death, Michele struggled greatly, and self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. Michele spent some time at the Norma Herr Women’s Center, the West Side Catholic Center, and the VA hospital. She credits the care of the staff and the nourishment of the food at the VA with getting her on the road to recovery and sobriety. Michele was able to move into Permanent Supportive Housing at the Commons at West Village in November of 2017. She stated that Toni, a staff person from the VA, was integral in helping her move into her new home.
Michele shared that “having my own place has kept me sober”. When asked what advice she would offer to others struggling with homelessness she stated: “Don’t give up before the miracle happens”. When in shelter, and now in her home, she has always tried to keep up to date on the news and current events. “If you can get to a computer, you can get to the world” she affirmed.
Michele is also an experienced knitter, and has been teaching other residents in her building how to knit. She knits scarves and hats and gives them to homeless people in shelters. She states it is important to always give back.
Michele will be celebrating her 60th birthday this month and is planning a party. She has not had a birthday party since she was 21 years old, and is looking forward to celebrating this milestone!
We are so happy that Michele has found the safety and security she deserves in her new home. EDEN wishes her a happy birthday and many more!