“I’m normal again.”
Cheryl was living on the streets and staying in an abandoned building in Kissimmee. She was addicted to drugs, and her health was fading.
She has cirrhosis of the liver, and after going to the doctor for treatment, she learned that she also has hepatitis C. Because she was using an abandoned building as shelter, her condition worsened. She went to the hospital for help and slipped into a coma for 13 days.
After emerging from her coma, she needed a place to recover and was beginning to lose hope.
But Cheryl had a case manager who didn’t give up on her and was working to find a safe and stable place for her to live.
“My caseworker put me in a hotel for three months because I was too sick, and they didn’t have an apartment for me,” Cheryl said. But she was soon headed toward a fresh start.
Cheryl’s second chance came through Pathway Homes of Florida, a local nonprofit that provides links to housing, intensive case management, and other supportive services to adults experiencing homelessness in the region.
In speaking about Pathway Homes, Cheryl is grateful for their presence in her life. “They were so good to me, and they gave me a start to get myself together again.”
Eventually, she transitioned out of the hotel and into an apartment. Since moving into her own place, she’s able to receive the support she needs to get better mentally and physically. Cheryl is now clean and sober, her recovery has been aided by moving into an apartment, and she’s still being case managed.
After spending the first night in her apartment, she felt safe and secure for the first time in years.
“I got a set of keys to my own place, and nobody could take nothing from me no more,” Cheryl said victoriously. “I had my own keys, nobody could tell me what to do, and nobody could beat me up.”
Cheryl doesn’t have to fear for her safety now as she has a secure place to store her things, but more importantly, she has a safe place to rest her body.
“I’m normal again,” Cheryl said. And for the path that she’s walked to get here, normal is a triumph.