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Hope after a hurricane...
Paul’s difficult journey into homelessness began when he fell ill with cancer.
Here is his story:
Paul grew up in Galesburg, IL. He enlisted in the Navy and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA. Following an honorable discharge, he worked many years maintaining golf course greens, and remodeling homes for family members.
Two years ago, Paul was diagnosed with abdominal melanoma tumors, requiring surgical removal. He did not believe he had long to live, so during recovery he spent time with his children and four grandchildren in Illinois. Eventually he found himself homeless, sleeping on the couches at his family and friends’ homes.
Paul decided to relocate to Dade City to spend time with his mother and resume his treatments at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. With only $20, a backpack and small motorized bicycle, he kissed his kids and grandkids goodbye and headed south.
While traveling through a rural part of Georgia, unaware he was in Hurricane Irma’s path, Paul was blown off his bike in front of a small church. He pounded on the church door for help. There were approximately 25 people huddled together inside, riding out the hurricane. The small group took him in, gave him dry clothing, prayed with him, and gave him a place to sleep. He was so grateful for their kindness and prayers.
After the storm passed, the route was flooded, had many downed trees, and biking was treacherous. Upon reaching Jacksonville, the old motor on his bike gave out. With determination to reach his mother’s house, Paul continued by hitch hiking and pan handling his way southward. After arriving in Dade City, he learned his mother had left Florida. Paul had no money, no place to stay and felt very discouraged.
Everything changed when the Veterans’ Administration Office referred Paul to the SVdP CARES office in New Port Richey. He met with Kendra, a Peer Mentor, who enrolled Paul in the “Supportive Services for Veteran Families” program (SSVF). Paul now has a positive outlook on life. He has since been housed, is under medical care, and is awaiting his second surgery.
Nicole is the mother to four adorable boys. The journey here to SVdP CARES Center of Hope began when Nicole left a domestic violence situation with the father of her four children. Raising four children is a big job, but Nicole was left with no choice when her relationship with their father turned violent.
Nicole is a survivor, with four children to take care of. When the odds were stacked against this little family they also lost everything due to a house fire. Although they were able to stay with family, that period was short lived. Nicole found herself homeless, with four little mouths to feed. To read more click here:
Rapid Re-Housing in Sarasota County:
We are pleased to announce in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, that we are starting a new program in Sarasota County to address the homeless population. Michael Raposa, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul CARES, says the new program intends to remove as many barriers as possible to individuals, especially those who may be ineligible for other social services. “You don’t need to be clean or sober. You don’t need a job,” he says. “This is a holistic approach to ending homelessness for this client.” To read more click here:
Hope for the Homeless
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Vincentians Ending Homelessness Presentation