Asking for help was hard, but I’m so glad I did. When I got to the shelter, the staff worked with me right away to set goals. I was going to get back to work in my trade, get transportation – and really just get myself together.”
At 58 years old, starting over is going to be hard for Ken. As an incredibly independent and driven man, he never expected to find himself at a men’s homeless shelter. “Homelessness was a shock. You never expect it to happen to you.”
As a certified mechanic, a journeyman drywall hanger, a professional painter, he can fix or build about anything. “I’ve just always had a knack for using my hands, so I made a career out of it.”
After a difficult season of work that left Ken financially stretched, and a falling out with his longtime girlfriend, Ken eventually found himself without a home. “It was definitely the lowest point in my life. I had gotten by just fine for 58 years, and then this happened.”
Desperate to put a roof over his head, Ken called A New Leaf and was immediately placed into the East Valley Men’s Center, a 94-bed shelter for homeless men made possible by donors like you.
“Asking for help was hard, but I’m so glad I did. When I got to the shelter, the staff worked with me right away to set goals. I was going to get back to work in my trade, get transportation – and really just get myself together.”
Ken started work with a good friend’s business called Expert Handyman, and business was picking up, allowing him to buy a bike and save for a new apartment.
“But then the Coronavirus hit. It was such a shock, just bam – no one had any work. Here we are months later wondering what’s going to happen. There’s nearly a hundred guys in this shelter and nearly half are out of work.”
While the pandemic has made getting back on his feet much harder, Ken has hopes for a brighter future when he leaves the shelter.
“I’m an optimist, and I know how much this place can do to help me if I work hard. This place is a hand up, not a hand out – you gotta look at it like that.”
With the help of staff at the shelter, Ken has found a job, he has even found work here and there with Expert Handyman. Despite the challenges, Ken feels hopeful about his future, and thankful for the help you gave him.
“Without you, I wouldn’t have a roof over my head. I wouldn’t be able to eat. I wouldn’t have been able to get back to work. Thanks to you, I’m gonna be alright. I’m gonna get through this.”