Robert is a boisterous soul who loves people.
“My grandma always said you better help each other out, because one day you could be the one who needs helping,” he says.
He loves to make people smile and tries to genuinely compliment at least three people each day. Still, he’s usually been the helper and rarely the recipient. Until now.
He describes a daunting set of obstacles that led him to this moment. After 23 years on the job, he suffered a series of injuries that required costly surgeries and long recovery times. He couldn’t work. Then he was furloughed.
“Even that wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, at least for a while,” he says. He and his partner made ends meet on one salary while Robert finished healing and began looking for other work.
Then his partner also required extended medical intervention. Soon, Robert was driving for rideshare companies, running through their savings, and trying everything to keep up with regular bills, medical needs, and all the little demands of life.
He managed to scrape together most of his past due rent, but his landlord refused to accept partial payment and threatened eviction proceedings.
He just didn’t know what to do next. He always thought of assistance agencies as for “other people.” He didn’t even know where to go or who to ask for help, even after he realized he couldn’t do it all himself.
In his words, “I was frustrated and angry that I honestly didn’t think I could go on anymore. I lost faith in everyone and everything. I was done.”
A friend suggested he try one more thing: a visit to Crisis Assistance Ministry. That’s when he began to see light at the end of the tunnel. Of that morning, Robert says, “It is no exaggeration when I say you literally saved my life.”
Thanks to the support of the community, Robert met one-on-one with a caseworker who listened patiently as he finally let out all the feelings, the frustration, and the desperation he had been holding in. “She really listened to me and helped me see there was a way out,” he says.
A payment issued directly to his landlord, along with the money Robert had pieced together on his own, stopped the threat of eviction. They mapped out exactly how much he would need to drive over the next month to stay current and how to move forward. And Robert realized he could finally breathe again.
“I just cried. I didn’t even have the proper words to say thank you,” he says. Just that little bit of help, allowed Robert, his partner, and their beloved cat to stay in their apartment together while they get back on track financially.
With his own smile back in place, Robert can also get back to helping those around him find their own joy.
“Thank you for giving me back my faith in humanity. You truly restored everything I had lost faith in.”