After sixteen years working for the same company, the organization downsized leaving Arthur without a job. This left an opportunity for Arthur to take care of his ailing Mother. After she passed away, Arthur did not have a support system of friends or family to assist him during the transition and he became homeless.
So began Arthur’s experience with homelessness. Most of the time when he was homeless, Arthur was working. He signed up with a temp agency and would take temporary job assignments to keep motivated. When he had money, Arthur would take the opportunity to sleep in a hotel. When he didn’t, he would stay at the shelter.
Arthur found out about Horizon House and came here to access services. He could do his laundry here, take showers, and get something to eat. In addition, he participated in our Job Readiness Program to update his resume and learn online job searching skills. Arthur took advantage of opportunities to develop his interviewing skills through mock interviews conducted at Horizon House. Eventually, he secured a position at Amazon Fulfillment.
As Arthur now had income, he worked with one of our Case Managers on a housing plan. Since Arthur was just starting to save money, he needed assistance financially securing an apartment. Horizon House was able to assist him with funding for the security deposit, utilities and two month’s rent to start him off, and Arthur has taken it from there. He specifically looked for an apartment close to his worksite so he could walk instead of relying on public transportation or needing to get a car.
In Arthur’s words, "If you have a job, you have control over your life – you have independence." So Arthur is doing everything he can to be successful at his job. He has gained certifications, worked requested hours and additional hours. He now trains other staff and is looking to grow with the organization.
When he reflects on Horizon House, Arthur says, "Where else can you get the services that are here? Where else can you take a shower, do your laundry, get something to eat at any time, receive clothing and get medical care?" He admired Horizon House staff because as he said, "They take the time to work with an individual to get him/her to a place they need to be and monitor their progress." He also said, "How agencies treat people is very important. I love it here. Your staff show love by going out of their way to help someone."
Now, Arthur is looking to the future. He is building a support system of new friends, saving money to one day buy a car and in his words, ‘just work on getting myself right.’ In addition, Arthur wants to eventually start a Foundation in his great grandmother’s name to help others. His great grandmother was Dr. Isabella Garnet Butler, one of the first African American doctors in Illinois. She started a hospital, Butler Memorial Hospital, in Evanston, IL that served African Americans who were not served at other facilities. Her hospital eventually merged with another hospital to serve all people. To honor Dr. Butler, a public park in Evanston was dedicated in her name. Arthur would like to continue serving others as his great grandmother’s legacy.