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Burnside Shelter

Tony loses shoes and nearly everything else, finds stability at Connect

Tony from our Connect program.

Tony from our Connect program.

Tony’s work shoes “split wide open.” That was the final straw.  After working out of his car for about three years at a McDonald’s in Bakersfield, California, it wasn’t losing his car, or even losing an apartment to bedbugs that did him in. It was the shoes.

“I hit a couple of hiccups,” he said. “[After the bedbugs] I had one other place where I could stay in a bed for a week, but then the landlord evicted my friend and I had to go back to living in my car before I lost it.

“I spent a night on the streets, but woke up covered in fire ants and the flu. Once I got my doctor’s note, I went back to work after a couple of days and that’s when my work shoes split wide open.”

At that very moment everything became clear to Tony about where he was in life and what his options were. It was time to make some drastic moves.

“Everything went as wrong as it could,” Tony explained. “I talked to my managers at work, but there wasn’t a lot we could do about my situation. So I had to put in my two week notice and I finally moved to Portland.”

Tony had planned on moving to Portland eventually, but his hope was to do so under a much better set of circumstances. But with no work shoes, no job prospects and no sure thing in regards to somewhere he could stay, he needed help. By way of suggestion from Transitions Project in Portland, along with God’s grace and direction, Tony was introduced to our Hope Ministries at Portland Rescue Mission. It was there that he joined the Connect program.

“The staff here has been very kind and understanding … everyone in the program has been totally solid.” he said. “Connect is helping me stay out of the cold and the rain while helping me get reestablished … It’s a great place for me to stay.”

Tony spent the winter months delivering packages for the UPS while also holding down his daily vocational duties at the Burnside Shelter. All things considered, he says the transition has been relatively smooth. It’s also given him hope and a chance to start life anew elsewhere.

“God has been looking out for me, and I can rest in that while I’m here at Connect,” he explained. “It’s been such a blessing because it has provided me with a very friendly, caring and understanding environment in which I can grow and get back on my feet.” Reliable work boots included.

For men like Tony, Connect is where it all begins. When life becomes too overwhelming, your generosity offers them the hope we all so desperately need. For many people, homelessness is just one stretch of bad luck away. And your gifts, both financial and through other donations, allow us to continue to serve as a place of refuge and sanctuary for other men, women and children suffering from the storms of homelessness and addiction.