August 19, 2016
Arthur had worked for the same company nearly his entire working life. Arthur didn’t necessarily stay that long because he loved his job; the days were long and the work was hard. But it paid the bills and he knew if he was loyal to his company, his company would be loyal to him. But when the recession hit, Arthur’s philosophy was tested. And when the company had to start making cuts, Arthur, after 16 years of loyal work, was let go.
He was devastated. That company was all he’d ever known. How would he get a job somewhere else? Where would he live without an income? Questions like this kept Arthur up at night and he knew he couldn’t dwell on what happened. He needed to make some moves. So, he did. Arthur moved in with mother. While he had never expected to live under his mother’s roof again, it was the most logical answer for both of them. His mother’s health was getting worse, to the point she needed someone there full-time. And Arthur needed a place to stay.
Shortly after Arthur moved in, his mother passed away. Grieving his loss, he was also burdened with the stress of figuring out what to do next. He didn’t have other family or friends in town to lean on temporarily, and he had been so busy caring for his mother that he hadn’t kept up on his job search. Broke and alone, Arthur was homeless for the first time in his life.
But Arthur isn’t a sit-around-do-nothing kind of guy. Even though he was homeless, he got began working with a temp agency. But those jobs didn’t pay much – and there was no guarantee he’d always have a job. When he had the money, he’d sleep in a hotel. When he didn’t, he’d stay at a shelter. Although he was working, it was never enough to get back on stable ground.
Then, Arthur found Horizon House. He came in to do his laundry and stayed for a job readiness class. Through the class he learned the skills to land and keep a job and participated in mock interviews to hone his skills. Soon enough, Arthur found a full-time position at Amazon!
Now that he had a stable income, Arthur shifted his focus to a housing plan. He was just starting to save money, so he needed help securing an apartment. Horizon House was able to cover his deposit and first month’s rent to start him off. But Arthur has taken it from there. And he specifically looked for an apartment close to work, so he could walk instead of relying on public transportation or needing a car.
With a steady income and place of his own, Arthur couldn’t be more hopeful. “If you have a job, you have control over your life – you have independence,” he said. And he is doing everything he can to keep that control. He is finding opportunities to professionally develop with his new company, building a support system of new friends, saving money to one day buy a car and, in his words, “’just work on getting myself right.”
Because of United Way and Horizon House, Arthur has the resources he needs to survive day-to-day life. Because of you, he has the opportunity to think about the future and create a life he can proud and happy to call his own.
Note: United Way works to improve the lives of all Central Indiana residents by focusing our work in four key areas – Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs. Horizon House is a United Way-funded agency addressing one or more of these priorities by empowering individuals and families to lift themselves out of homelessness.