People come to LSS Faith Mission of Fairfield County at different stages in their lives and for different reasons. Each person’s story is unique. We strive to meet our clients where they are and serve them as individuals so that they can better their lives. Here are some of those unique stories.
“I’ve never been one to ask for help,” said Jim. “I’m used to making $60,000. To go from that to homeless is a hard pill to swallow.”
Jim, 49, had his own landscaping business until an injury forced him to give it up. But he bounced back and became a truck driver instead. Everything was fine until a string of unfortunate events in quick succession caused Jim’s life to spiral out of control.
He lost his girlfriend and, consequently, his housing. He continued to drive a truck, which he also slept in, but the final blow was when his bank account was frozen for back child support. He was depressed and drinking heavily. Feeling like he was having a nervous breakdown, Jim went to the hospital and was placed on suicide watch.
This is when Jim was linked to the LSS Faith Mission of Fairfield County. Thanks to assistance he’s received, Jim is sober, has a car and job as a short-haul truck driver. He’s getting better physically and mentally and putting some money aside so he can get a place of his own.
Jim said, “Staying at the shelter has done wonders for me. There’s always someone to talk to. They are wonderful. They are my friends. I’m glad I came here.” He wants to give back and often gives rides to other residents who don’t have transportation.
“I’m not used to asking for things, but I’ve had to.” For Bob, he found help at LSS Faith Mission of Fairfield County. “I had nothing. You can’t live on minimum wage. You have to adjust to living in the shelters.” Bob recovered from alcoholism and drug addiction while working at LSS’ Fairhaven Lawn Care, until the pain from his prior injuries and disabilities, including a broken back and injured hand and knee, made it impossible for him to complete manual labor.
Before coming to Faith Mission, Bob had lived in a car for three months. “I used to hate me,” he confessed. “Once you get low like that, it’s hard to get back on your feet.” But since staying at Faith Mission, Bob has come a long way. “There are two things I learned: gratitude and respect.”
Bob has not only been aided through his troubling addictions, but has now also learned life lessons that he can apply moving forward. “Lisa is my right hand,” he says of his case manager. “I meet with her all the time. Everyone who works here is a godsend. These people are friends, they are wonderful people.” He’s so appreciative of the program and the people who’ve helped him to turn his life around. “It works,” he says of Faith Mission’s case management programming. “People don’t understand what LSS does for others. They are lifesavers. They helped save mine.”
Eli, 36, was in the Army for eleven years during the Gulf War era. He suffers from mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction issues. Serious injuries sustained in a car accident have left him unable to work. He is separated from his wife and three-year-old son.
Eli said he was “off the grid for a few years” before he received a spot at the Keiffer House, a transitional housing program of LSS’s Faith Mission of Fairfield County.
Motivated by the desire to have a better relationship with his son than he had with his father, Eli is finally receiving the counseling he had been avoiding for years. He also appreciates the peer support he receives from the other veterans. “We can talk about stuff. Help each other out.” He added that the staff takes “good care of us here.”
Eli hopes to get his disability benefits worked out and his finances in order so he can move to his own place soon.
Aaron, 30, was in the Army for six years. He said not taking responsibility for his actions coupled with drug and alcohol abuse lead to homelessness. He eventually received a spot at the Keiffer House, a transitional housing program of LSS’ Faith Mission of Fairfield County.
At the Keiffer House, Aaron said he “learned to love and respect himself again.” He said he has received any assistance he needed and the staff has been “phenomenal.” He is receiving disability assistance because of a spinal injury sustained during his military service. He wants to go back to school, since he can no longer perform manual labor. Expressing his hope for the future, Aaron said, “Life’s a garden. You got to dig.”
Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio is a United Way agency, a member of Lutheran Services in America and a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
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