Together Through It All

Brian and Jeri have been inseparable for 30 years. They met through work and have been together ever since.

For nearly a decade, Brian, a registered nurse and Jeri, a nurse’s aid, enjoyed successful careers. They loved their home in St. Louis Park and joyfully welcomed three children into their family. Life was good.

Then everything changed. The intense emotional and physical demands of long shifts, mandatory overtime, and constant life-and-death circumstances led Brian to start using painkillers. According to the American Nurses Association, 10% of nurses nationwide are dependent on drugs, due in large part to the stresses of their profession.

When Brian was suspended from nursing, Jeri, the kids, and he all moved to Brian’s family farm up North. Then Brian moved back to Minneapolis for a better job and a long-term treatment program. Jeri stayed behind with the kids until an extremely severe winter when the pipes in the house burst and the heat failed. Huddled with the kids in one bedroom for warmth, Jeri decided to return to the Twin Cities.

Brian and Jeri relied on their family bond to stay positive and get back on their feet. They managed to rent for several years in Brooklyn Park, long enough for their kids to grow up. However, medical issues and hospitalizations made keeping housing and jobs difficult. They ended up staying on couches and in spare rooms with friends and family for three years. It was difficult feeling like they could never truly relax. Brian explains,

“There’s a feeling of being less than – of alienation. People would tell us, ‘You can’t cook, can’t have a key, can’t call this place home.’ You can’t be in public either. There’s a constant awareness of police for loitering and the panic of being spotted. You can’t exist anywhere.”

Thanks to Our Saviour’s Housing, things have started going right for Brian and Jeri. After a few months in shelter, they joined our Permanent Supportive Housing Program and moved into their own apartment. Jeri says,

“It’s home! It’s our place, where we can make a cup of tea and a sandwich and have peace of mind, knowing you can go lie down.”

The move could not have happened at a more critical time. Jeri underwent a major surgery last January. They got into their new place just in time for her release from the hospital.

With housing stability, Brian and Jeri are able to focus on regaining their health, rebuilding strained relationships with family, and enjoying the good things in life – like their first grandchild, a beautiful baby girl. With much to look forward to, Brian and Jeri are grateful for the support they’ve received from OSH. Brian simply states,

“They care. They put us up, fed us. A lot of people don’t care. It was like a miracle.”