Every participant who walks into Goldie’s Place has a unique story to tell. We strive to understand each individual’s journey into homelessness and how he or she can fight to become self-sufficient. Serena and Frank are two people whose lives led them to homelessness. Although their stories took different paths, both led to Goldie’s Place.
Serena was working in the financial industry when she became ill. For six months she was in and out of the hospital. Because of her onslaught of multiple health issues, her doctor advised her not to go to work. While on long-term disability, Serena lost her apartment and for two and a half years she stayed with friends and family. Eventually she was forced to move into her storage unit.
In June of 2015, Serena was introduced to Goldie’s Place by a past participant. She was initially nervous but quickly felt welcomed. Serena graduated the training program, revised her resume, filled out applications, was interviewed by companies, and was hired on August 25th. She was impressed with the connections Goldie’s Place had, and their ability to find a fit for her.
As a single mother, Serena prided herself in setting a good example for her kids. She has never done drugs, was responsible, and worked hard to be supportive. She lost one of her sons 7 years prior to coming to Goldie’s Place and he was her inspiration to never give up.
Frank’s different but equally tragic spiral into homelessness began when he started using drugs. He was an addict for 30 years. Frank states he had a rough life but admits that he brought it upon himself. He made bad decisions and became popular with the wrong people.
For 27 years, he was in and out of the Salvation Army’s rehab program. His mentor, an employee there, had shown him his file once as a means to discourage his path towards severe addiction. Frank described the file as being as big as a phone book. On his last and successful attempt to conquer his addiction, Frank walked into the Salvation Army and his mentor was gone. Today, Frank is still inspired by his mentor to keep up his sobriety and stay off the streets.
Once it was clear that Frank was giving 100% to become self-sufficient, he was pointed to Goldie’s Place. Frank says that Goldie’s Place built up his self-esteem. He earned a janitorial job at UIC and 3 months later, moved into an apartment. It is the first time he has ever had his own apartment and says it is his greatest accomplishment yet!
Frank hopes he can inspire other participants at Goldie’s Place to achieve their goals. He wants to be a positive influence on others and show them that if he can do it, they can too.
The stories of Serena and Frank are two of many who leave Goldie’s Place with confidence and a brighter future. We provide the tools for people to get out of homelessness, but they can only succeed if they are ready and able to work hard to achieve their goals.