Client Success Story: Tim

We recently had the pleasure of meeting with a client, Tim, who has just settled into his new apartment home through the Healthy Community Collaborative.  We interviewed Tim to learn more about his story.

 

“I used to ride horses full time. In 2003, I was the National Champion in the hunter event. I was number one in the nation in jumping. I was injured – I had a broken bone in my foot, and I was unable to work for four years. I slowly went through every resource. I had to get rid of all of my horses and my car. Not being released to work for four years, I went through all of my money. I never expected to be living under a bridge, ever.

In the daytime, being homeless didn’t seem that bad.  But come 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening, anxiety would set in around the reality of the situation – where are you gonna go, where are you gonna be safe? I did not want to be downtown. Because of the broken bone in my foot, I was taking narcotics and I just didn’t want to go there. I went out on the edge of town and made myself a campsite. Then I found a treehouse and I stayed there. If I hadn’t been so depressed, it would have been a much more spiritual experience! Some of my best friends that I’ve known for 20 years stopped answering my calls. I found more kindness from strangers in Austin than I did from others I thought should have been there for me.

Then I became connected with Integral Care. I can’t even put into words what the housing case managers did for me. They were very professional and gave me really good advice. It was hard giving up control and having to trust a stranger at first. But they seemed like they really cared. They would meet with me at Target or places I had appointments to work with me. I took a coordinated assessment to get into housing. The case managers also helped me get my disability in six weeks. This program has really saved my life. Now it’s up to me to keep things moving forward.

 

Now that I have housing, my toughest decision is which shirt is going to fit me best. It’s a big difference!

I like my new place because it’s mine. Staying with friends or family, even in the best situation, you don’t have your own space. You don’t feel comfortable. It’s really hard. My plan now is to return to work. I think that will help with my depression. I could teach gymnastics, or I could cut hair.

 

I never thought that I would know so many homeless people and have something in common with them, and understand what they’re up against. You can get out of that hole. It’s up to you. The services are there, you just have to take the next step.”