A Year Without a Home
Herve will always remember the 2016 Minnesota Twins season—not because of the team’s losing record that year but because the end of this season marked the beginning of his homelessness. Herve had been employed with seasonal work at Target Field, which ended once the Twins played their last home game. Without a new job lined up, Herve ultimately lost his apartment in Crystal and became homeless.
Herve quickly moved to Minneapolis to be closer to job opportunities. The only things he took with him were his clothes, which he put into storage. Although Herve began working again, he remained homeless for a full year. During this time, he stayed on friends’ couches, slept on trains and buses, and paid for hotels when he could. The nights in hotels were the best because he could get a good sleep and a hot shower the next morning before heading out again. He never stayed in shelter, preferring to stay outdoors if it came down to it.
“I was so tired. I’m walking down the street and don’t know where I’m going to sleep. That would be on my mind all the time. [One time] I fell asleep [outside]. They stole my cell phone and my backpack. I woke up, and everything was gone.”
The stress of not knowing where he’d be sleeping each night weighed heavily on Herve, and his safety was often at risk. He explains, “I was so tired. I’m walking down the street and don’t know where I’m going to sleep. That would be on my mind all the time. [One time] I fell asleep [outside]. They stole my cell phone and my backpack. I woke up, and everything was gone.”
Finally a Good Night’s Sleep
Eventually, a street outreach team connected Herve with the Permanent Supportive Housing Program at Our Saviour’s Housing. With the support of OSH, he moved into an apartment where he remained successfully housed for three years. When he reflects on this time, Herve says, “I respect [OSH]. I believe in this program. They helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be right now, maybe dead. Probably I would still be homeless.” To this day, he most appreciates having a place where he can lie down after a long day.
“I believe in this program…If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be right now, maybe dead. Probably I would still be homeless.”
Herve is grateful he was able to get help but knows a lot of people out there who are still homeless. He’d like to make sure that help is available for them too. “I got a lot of friends I used to hang out with when I used to be homeless. They’re still homeless. I got help. I’m trying to help them too.”
Now, Herve is ready to move out on his own! Recently, he was accepted onto public housing after being on the waitlist and moved into his own place last month. The transition is a big one, bringing both nervousness and excitement. Herve will no longer have a supportive case manager meeting with him every week or someone to make sure his bills get paid. But he feels it’s time to move on. Using the skills he’s gained during his time at Our Saviour’s, Herve knows one thing for certain. He’s never going back to the streets. “I tell myself I will never be homeless again. I gotta stay focused because I can’t go back.”