“The deepest, darkest part of a man’s life is when he doesn’t know where he’s going to be or where he’s going to end up.”
In November of the coldest winter in recent memory, Michael moved out of his apartment of six years, just barely avoiding formal eviction. As he closed his door for the last time, he walked out onto the street where he would sleep that night.
What caused his homelessness? Lack of support. In his own words, “I started getting complacent and fell into hold behaviors, including getting off my meds, self-isolating, and trashing the apartment.”
Due to poor money management skills, Michael also struggled with affording application fees and rental deposits. His mental health–troubled with major anxiety, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder–was in decline.
Weeks passed without knowing what to do. He reflects, “The deepest, darkest part of a man’s life is when he doesn’t know where he’s going to be or where he’s going to end up.” Fortunately, within a month, Michael heard about the Minneapolis shelter lottery. “I was so worried each night. So to find a place like Our Saviour’s Housing is definitely like finding the light at the end of the tunnel.” He took particular comfort in OSH’s sober environment. “That was really important to me because I am in recovery myself.”
While in shelter, Michael worked dedicatedly with staff on 2 main goals–finding an apartment and building a stronger support system to help keep him in it. Over the next two months, Michael found an apartment he really liked and saved money for the deposit. He paid bills, began tracking his receipts, and planned a budget around all of his expenses. He also started taking his medications again and returned to his support groups and therapy. In short, he used the time for, “getting my priorities straight.”
In February of this year, Michael moved into his new apartment, and he loves it. He takes pride in his patio and the view of a beautiful park outside his window. He celebrated Memorial Day weekend by hosting a barbeque picnic with his family. Michael notes that his family (including 11 grandchildren!) is really proud of him. They’re happy that he is safe and that he knew when he needed help.
Currently, Michael is excited for his first meeting with his new mental health advocate. He’s sticking to his financial plan, too. There’s a budget sheet on both his bedroom door and desk to hold him accountable. Most of all, though, he looks forward to the day he can be reunited with his companion dog of 5 years, Task. Until then, Task is in a foster home.
In the end, Michael states, “Our Saviour’s saved me because I was on the edge. I was really dark. My mind was in relapse. I was breaking down, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I know that if it had been much longer [before I got to OSH], I would have started using again. I know that for a fact.” Instead, Michael earned his 7-year medallion for sobriety at the end of April.