Meet Greg. Until March of 2022, Greg had been homeless for nearly eight years. But at First Stop, we know that homeless doesn’t mean hopeless and that it takes consistency and trust to help someone back into independent living.
Hannah, one of our Case Managers, first met Greg in the summer of 2021. Through regular visits to the homeless camps, she learned that Greg needed to reapply for food assistance and encouraged him to visit First Stop for an appointment. After a few months of speaking with Hannah during Outreach visits, Greg made an appointment to do an intake assessment. Together, they created his Individual Service Plan (ISP), a roadmap that would help guide him toward independent, sustainable living.
Connecting Greg to Critical Services and Support
Because Greg had worked his entire life and was over 65 years old, he was eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. However, without a government-issued ID or a birth certificate, he was still a long way away from independence. These documents are critical in obtaining benefits, health insurance, or applying for housing.
Hannah’s goal became clear. In order to help Greg exit homelessness, he needed help getting his vital records documents.
Obtaining a birth certificate turned out to be quite the feat. Greg was born on a military base in France. This meant that in addition to submitting the required paperwork to the State Department, getting the forms notarized, and paying an additional fee for the document, there was an eight-week waiting period.
Empowering Greg for Sustainable Living
For someone experiencing homelessness, navigating this long and difficult process alone can be a significant barrier to regaining independence. By February of 2022, Hannah had helped Greg to get his birth certificate and ID, establish social security income, open a bank account, enroll in health insurance, and receive food stamps.
They continued to work together on his ISP, and in mid-March, Greg moved into his very own apartment. After eight years of living in uncertainty, he was home.
But for Greg, his struggles weren’t quite over. A month later, he suffered a stroke and heart attack, landing him in the hospital for nearly two weeks. The doctors recommended an in-patient rehab facility for his recovery, but after everything he’d been through, Greg just wanted to go home.
After his release, he went back to his apartment where home health nurses and physical therapists were able to visit and help him through the recovery process. For Greg, a situation that could have ended catastrophically (had he still been living at the camps), had a much better outcome. His new insurance covered the hospital stay and physical therapists, and his apartment gave him a safe and quiet place to recuperate.
Nearly a year after moving into his own apartment, Greg is thriving. He’s learned to budget, setting much of his income aside for savings. He pays his rent multiple months in advance. To Greg, his apartment is more than where he’s living. It’s his home—it’s security, a safe haven, and a place he can call his own.
Help Drive Our Mission to Encounter, Connect, and Empower
Thanks to your support, Greg has a home and ongoing support from his case manager Hannah. Greg’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.