Image description: John, a slim middle-aged black man with a shaved head, looks to the side and smiles. He sits beneath an elevated train bridge in an urban neighborhood. Shadows dapple him.

It’s amazing, I did everything, been everywhere, you’d think I’d be one of the last people that would be homeless.

When I got out of prison, I’d never had a job in my life. I was always a taker of money, I wasn’t a maker of money. Which was sad. I initiated a correspondence with the Fortune Society, and my whole focus was to get a job. I don’t care what I do, I’ll get a job doing anything, I’ll sweep the streets. Fortune gave me an internship as a counselor. I learned the paperwork really well, developed a relationship with the people, they offered me a job. I met my wife, Sophia, at Fortune. She told me she had a bad heart but I didn’t….

She had a heart attack. That morning I woke up and said, “What’s the matter? You want to go to the hospital?” She said, “I think I better.” She passed right there in the emergency room. She was my buddy, she was my friend. I went into a state of despondency and despair, that was, oh man. I started using drugs again and just kept using. I was living on the pity pot and I refused to get off.

I came here to Praxis in 2014. The building was new and I was the last person to get an apartment. July 28th, the day I moved in. It was a great day.

The future’s great. I’m extremely confident. I have a tremendous proficiency in state regulations for non-profit organizations, when I want to work it allows me freedom. But in my life, I’m still empty because I haven’t even begun to see anyone past her; I don’t think there is anyone. But anything can happen.

Image © A. Jesse Jiryu Davis