At First Stop, we recognize the importance of a person’s story. Their name, their life, and the specific circumstances that led them to where they are. Darryl is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Reserves.
He was also homeless.
If you’ve donated a meal or volunteered with First Stop, you’ve probably met Darryl. In October 2018, he was working full-time at Home Depot.
As a veteran, he received VA assistance for housing and lived in an apartment nearby. The apartment was transferred to different ownership, and shortly thereafter the rent was raised. He picked up extra shifts to help pay the difference, working overtime whenever it was available.
Then, he got sick. Darryl had pneumonia, which led to further health issues, and six weeks of unpaid leave while he recovered. By the time he was healthy enough to return to work, he had been laid off. He lost his apartment and started staying at friends’ homes, sleeping on their couches, before staying at the Salvation Army.
Then Darryl found First Stop
Darryl was active in case management for over two years and worked diligently in our Casual Labor program to earn money and save. This program gives our clients the ability to earn money through First Stop while working closely with their case manager and planning a route forward. Thanks to his hard work, perseverance, and our incredible case management program, Darryl is now living 𝘪𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵.
Darryl left us with these thoughts:
“Homeless people are people too. We are not a stereotype. You don’t have to look a certain way or have addiction issues to be homeless. A lot of people are a paycheck away from homelessness, we saw that during Covid. A lot of us are making money, we have jobs. We just can’t afford housing. I won’t be homeless for the rest of my life. It’s not going to happen. My time is coming.
To others, I would say to have compassion. Don’t judge someone’s situation by your own circumstances. You haven’t walked in their shoes.”
Help Drive Our Mission to Encounter, Connect, and Empower
Thanks to your support, Darryl has a home and ongoing support from his case manager Chaniece. Darryl’s story exemplifies how your investment year-round drives First Stop’s mission to encounter, connect, and empower more people to independent, sustainable living in Huntsville.