Building a Better Life

A former housing program participant and friend, shares his story of recovery.

I have a mental illness.  One day everything came to an end when I found myself homeless and living on the streets.  I couldn’t hold down a job.

As an individual with a mental illness who has experienced homelessness I am grateful for the housing programs operated through Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation (ABC).  I was introduced to the folks at ABC over ten years ago when I found myself enrolled into the Maricopa County public mental health system.  I ended up in the hospital after spending several months on the streets and living in my car because my challenges with my mental illness had become so severe.

For the first time in my life, an individual from the public mental health system interviewed me while I was in the hospital and enrolled me into ValueOptions (the Regional Behavioral Health Authority for Maricopa County in 1999).  It was my first time that I had been enrolled in a system that would help me with employment, housing, medications and case management.  All other programs that I had been involved with in my earlier years did not help with employment or housing nor case management.

I was discharged from the hospital in the fall of 1999 and went to a transitional living center.  My case manager at that time helped me get onto the waiting list for subsidized housing.  ABC and the staff at HOM, Inc. helped me get into a small one bedroom apartment close to the clinic where I received my services.

Having a place to call home for the first time in about two years was a blessing and an important piece of my recovery.

Thanks to the wonderful work that the people at ABC and HOM, Inc. do each and every day I have been able to use the services for a few years and gain some knowledge and skills that helped me graduate from the public mental health system.

Today I am gainfully employed and have become self-sufficient thanks to the support from the people at ABC, HOM, Inc., and many individuals who were part of my recovery.

My definition of recovery is “Getting a Life” … and for me that means a home, a job and a date on Saturday evening.  Thanks to many individuals working in the public mental health system in Maricopa County and thanks to the folks at ABC and HOM, Inc. who helped give me a place to call home, I am on my way to building a better life for myself.

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