Three months ago, Steve was spending his nights in a field in the Washington County countryside. When his wife died of cancer seven years ago, things began to deteriorate for him, leading to years of homelessness. A medical condition prevented him from working and he found it difficult to be around other people. “I’ve spent a long time alone in the field, depressed.”

Then in a month, Steve’s life completely changed. It all started with a visit to his adult son in Forest Grove. “I don’t want to be here anymore,” Steve told him. “I wanted to commit suicide. It made me realize how important it is to become a father again.” Steve began to visit his son more regularly, until he decided to find a place to live in the area. He realized that finding a home was the first step in stabilizing himself and fixing his life.

Take the first step

Around that time, Steve met another homeless person at Open Door who told him about a campground in Forest Grove, where he discovered that a good friend was also living. Steve moved there to begin his transition back into the community. Living in the camp was beneficial to Steve, as it helped him re-learn how to live and work with people. For the first two weeks, you intervene in an emergency situation that is likely to save the lives of many campers.

A week after moving into the camp, Steve received a flyer about the housing fair at Open Door. Although the streak was long and demand was high, with perseverance Steve was able to sign up for a long-term regional rental assistance voucher, paid for by the Metro Supporting Housing Services Fund. He was assigned to work on housing caseworker Michael Davis for the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. Open Door’s housing case management, IRCO, and outreach work are also supported by the Metro Fund.

Finding housing in the Washington County hotspot housing market was a challenge at first. The first two apartments Steve looked at were rented out within minutes of opening the app. With Michael’s help, Steve was able to quickly move to the next apartment he looked at and place his order before anyone else. Michael worked after hours to make sure the application was processed and that the property managers had everything they needed, and Steve was approved for the apartment.

fix his life

Several months into his new home, Steve’s transition is going well and he’s happy. He built two Harley-Davidson motorcycles from scratch in his living room and plans to take one on a road trip. He’s still working on getting approval for disability and doing odd jobs.

He recently told Michael that the housing program not only provided him with housing – it saved his life. Michael said, “He told me he was going to end his life the week he met me, but after he met me, I gave him enough hope to carry on and he’s now thriving.”

Steve said, “I’m glad I tried to make an effort. I’m grateful I got a room voucher.” He plans to keep his home and break the cycle of homelessness forever. He said of Michael, “I could not be more grateful to him. He was a good man.”

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