Stories & Insights

From Homelessness to Home: David's Story

Veteran David* had what would be considered an ideal life; a family, a partner, a home of his own. But his world was turned upside down when he realized his life was in danger and had to uproot his life and quickly flee to Rhode Island, without a place to call home.

November 10, 2021

To start, David* joined the military and served in the army, first as military police and then in the transportation unit. With a baby on the way, David was ready to return to civilian life. During that time, David and his partner had another child and raised them (today, his two sons are ages 36 and 42).

Unfortunately, that relationship came to an end. However, David found another partner who he considered the love of his life and moved to Virginia with her where they lived in a beautiful 4-bedroom home. He worked in construction for a time before switching to a career in shipping & rreceiving.

David had lived a life that many would consider the ideal and societally “normal.” However, he reached a turning point when his girlfriend of 13 years unexpectedly stopped taking her medication for her bipolar disorder. One night, David awoke to her standing over him with a knife threatening to take his life.

David had no choice but to flee, abandoning all of his belongings and the life he had built with the woman he loved.

Upon returning to Rhode Island, David attempted to couch surf, staying with family and friends. But, he recognized that was not a sustainable way to live and felt as though he was a burden on his loved ones.

That’s when he decided to turn to Crossroads Rhode Island.

David stayed at Harrington Hall twice on his journey from homelessness to home.

The first time was 4 years ago after he fled from Virginia, where he stayed at Harrington Hall for 8 months as he worked to get back on his feet. Once he landed a job in shipping & receiving, he was able to move in to a place of his own and started to re-stabilize his life.

But unfortunately, the job that David held vanished after the company he worked for closed its doors, and he began taking up odd jobs and temporary work trying to keep his head above water. It was during this time that he was involved in an accident that caused him to be disabled, leaving him unable to work.

The loss of income caused David to return to Harrington Hall. He noticed upon his arrival that some of the same men he knew from 4 years ago had also needed to return to emergency shelter themselves, or never left. David took it upon himself to become a mentor for those men and encouraged them to make changes in their lives for the better.

All the while, David worked hard to better his own situation, teaming up with his case managers to obtain disability and prepare himself to once again live on his own. And finally, on July 1 of this year, David was able to obtain an apartment of his own.

Today, David enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and playing music in his free time. He is a very talented musician who taught himself to play several instruments, including the keyboard, bass guitar, acoustic guitar and bongos. He says that music allows him to free his mind and leave his troubles behind him.

Throughout his journey David was able to persevere by employing a positive outlook and remaining patient. For him, the hardest part of being homeless was the challenging winter days, trying to keep warm while he waited to return to his shelter bed for the evening. He also remembers how hard it was to not have any privacy, sharing the Harrington Hall shelter with 60 other men in bunks.

David is most proud of the way he always tries to help people, no matter what situation he is in, and the way he was able to overcome some challenging situations to get back on his feet again. He says that he is so grateful to Crossroads and the amazing staff who helped him find his way home again.

*name has been changed to protect client identity.

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