The Story of Chris

 

The frigid cold finally took its toll. Despite being homeless, Chris avoided staying in shelters. Instead, he slept outside near the Capitol, in abandoned buildings, or in the park. However, the winter of 2014 was the coldest weather he’d experienced, and it forced him to find warmth and respite.

When Chris arrived at the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) Emergency Shelter for Code Blue, he didn’t realize that he’d be changing his life and inspiring a new program at IPH.

Due to the bitter cold, the dorms filled to capacity, but Chris and 12 others slept on the couches at the shelter. IPH worked tirelessly to develop a way to provide more. IPH’s Safe Haven was opened with cots, hot meals, staff, and case managers to assist Chris and other individuals from the streets of Albany who needed these services.

Safe Haven provided warmth and safety that this community needed. Although the first signs of spring were met with enthusiasm, the adversity of the winter still hung heavily. Chris approached staff to show his gratitude… “You guys saved my life this winter.”

Alcohol and drugs influenced Chris’ decisions and led to his homelessness. “I was scared when I started sleeping on the streets, but I didn’t know how to change things,” he admitted.

Winter came again the next year, and Chris was back at Safe Haven without hesitation. He was in the same situation and knew now that he had a safe place to go. The second season saw an overall increase in guests needing shelter, in large part, because Chris and previous guests were spreading the word. Friends had died on the streets in the cold, and Chris didn’t want anyone else to suffer.

At IPH, he met staff who were accepting and motivational. Chris visited the on-site nurse, talked with case managers, and started to see another possibility for his life. Staff guided Chris towards resources. After a second try at treatment, Chris is proudly one-year sober. After 4 years of homelessness, Chris has his own apartment. After years of unemployment, he works hard every day at his new job.

The 4 year journey together is far from over. Chris moved into IPH’s permanent, supportive housing this summer and works with his case manager on his goal to maintain his sobriety, job, and housing. He’s staying steady and grateful.

Healthier, clean, and stable, Chris looks and feels like a different person. “On the street, I was just trying to survive. I felt so hopeless. Now, I am happy where I am. I am proud. I never knew this was possible for me.”

Spark new possibilities with a donation to IPH’s Annual Fund.

There are so many ways that you can help us help others.

We are so grateful for the partnership and support of APD! Thank you for the delicious breakfast for our guests and… https://t.co/xGFERrrU4u