Chronic homelessness was not something Rodney thought he would experience.
He had lived on a fixed income of SSI for many years following a disability application in his early twenties. From time to time he struggled with symptoms, but he had not experienced homelessness until he moved from North Carolina to South Carolina in 2005 to support his mother when she was ill. When she recovered, she became connected with public housing which has restrictions on visitors, so Rodney was not able to stay. “I stayed with family and friends but that don’t last long.”
After some time living in abandoned houses and on porches, he got a bed at Transitions shelter. He worked through the program. “I did okay there, and then found a place with a friend, but it didn’t last. When I tried to get my own place, they said I had to make double the amount of rent. I only have my disability, so that didn’t work. Eventually, Rodney returned to Transitions again, and engaged with MIRCI’s outreach team. After eleven years of instability, Rodney moved into his own apartment on September 2, 2016. He expresses his relief and gratitude, “I got a roof over my head! Now I have to take care of other essentials. My biggest problem right now is trying to find a dentist”, Rodney quips. All jokes aside, he is taking his recovery from homelessness very seriously. Upon receiving permanent housing, he entered into MIRCI’s Representative Payee Program for assistance with budgeting; remains focused on his treatment, and attend groups several times a week. “I won’t go back to that life, Rodney states. I found out the hard way, but people need to know anybody can become homeless.”