Seeking refuge in makeshift cardboard boxes, and trying to sleep in a shack on the street, living conditions once unfathomable, became a dark reality for Abel until he found Stepping Stones Place, a Phoenix permanent supportive housing development, operated by Native American Connections.
His friends knew him as a strong worker and talented artist, wondered “How such an independent and kind man, lost everything?”
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Abel, a man whose life has been transformed. It was a joy to see his new, bright, expressive paintings, and hear the hope in his voice as he recalled his path from despair to determination.
Things changed for Abel, 48, when his mother survived a serious accident. He was forced to quit his good job to stay home full-time as her caregiver to meet her growing needs.
When she passed away in 2010, Abel worked odd jobs, but was unable to find permanent employment. When repairing a car, an engine dropped on his foot and needed to be amputated due to complications from diabetes. Now severely depressed, Abel was unable to address his significant mental and physical challenges. He lost his home.
Abel is grateful to have a clean bed to sleep in, healthy food to eat, and the security in knowing he has a place of his own.
Most importantly, permanent supportive housing isn’t just a safe place to live. The approach includes numerous on-site support services to help individuals who experience chronic homelessness address complex issues such as mental illness, disability, or substance abuse.
Abel’s journey back to health and wellness is well underway. And with consistent care from medical and mental health professionals he’s tackled numerous obstacles and gained the confidence to begin painting again. He proudly shows his colorful works of art to family and friends who stop by – a new network of support he thought he’d lost forever.
Permanent supportive housing is creating positive change for those in need of a second chance.