Father Joe’s Villages makes every effort to end homelessness in San Diego one life at a time. It’s often easy to let the big picture of ending homelessness distract us from the day-to-day successes we see around the Village. For that reason, we’ve created a blog series called “Life After the Village” to share some of the amazing, heart-warming stories of former residents that inspire us to continue our mission.
In this first post of the series we hear from Steven, a former resident who wanted to spend the rest of his life in prison rather than struggle on the streets another day.
“I trust all is well with you and yours. Things have never been better for me. Since leaving St. Vincent de Paul I have been living at the Metro SRO and working at Walmart; two things I never could have accomplished without the many blessings I received while staying at St. Vincent de Paul.
I simply could not have achieved these milestones while living on the streets. I have also quit smoking and I have reconnected with my family. Just last week I heard from both my older sister and from my mother. My siblings inform me that Mom is noticeably less stressed and comfortable since I have made this transition off of the streets of San Diego.
I spend much of my free time at the new Central Library and have even been able to volunteer there a few times. What a joy to not be a perpetual drag and expense to the community. When I was on the streets I was in the overnight jail/detox nine times. The officer who ran the SIP (serial inebriate program) told me that if they had to peel me off of the streets one more time they were going to throw into the county jail for thirty days; thereafter six months and then for one year. I was so depressed I asked if he could put me in there straight away. He looked at me and disgustedly replied, “This isn’t a hotel.” Anyway, they picked me up at least two times after he told me this and never did put me into the county jail. I think he was trying to help me by putting a bit of fear into me.
A month wouldn’t pass when an ambulance had to be called to cart me off to one of the local hospitals; none of which could I pay for, of course. All of these things fell onto the community of taxpayers.
Again, I am so, so pleased that St. Vincent’s was there to give me the opportunity to stop being a detriment and general burden to the good people of San Diego and to those who love me.
Thank you again Chanel. There are too many souls at St. Vincent’s who helped me to thank them all here, but do remember to thank Christy and to Debra as I know they are just across the hall from you.
Yours with love and gratitude,