Born and raised in Michigan, I was exposed to what seemed to be a normal way of living - drugs, prostitution, shootings and robberies. I lived in a rough area and was schooled in a middle class white area; being bi-racial was not accepted in either. At the same time, I was dealing with physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I chose alcohol and drugs as my escape. Later, while working in a Fortune-500 company, I was selling drugs, and my life unraveled.
I decided to move to Portland and discovered that the move did not take care of the problems I faced. I was sleeping on the streets and using anyone I could to get my next fix; the drugs had taken over. Finally, when I was sleeping in a drug house, I decided to get clean after a long history of use. Two weeks later, I was introduced to Transition Projects and was accepted into their short-term residential program.
The programs and services provided structure and allowed me to gain my self-worth back.
The feeling of disconnect was fading, stability returned, and Transition Projects asked me to be a mentor, which led to me being hired as a Street Outreach Specialist and then a Residential Advocate. I was promoted to Residential Case Manager, and in 2016 I led the agency in housing placements. I then spent one and a half years managing the agency’s (and County’s then) largest shelter. I am now the Income Development Program Manager at Transition Projects and recently held the most successful employment job fair for veterans in the city of Portland.
In 2018, I was awarded the Beverly "Ma" Curtis Award by the Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, an award given to a formerly homeless person who has made a significant contribution to ending homelessness. I am happy to say I am celebrating my seventh year in recovery and looking forward to purchasing my first home in 2019.