Before: Gordon was a loner who lost everything in an apartment fire. He had lived on the street about a year.
Today: The power of human connection. Kearn Ardoin spoke to Gordon after seeing his displacement on the street. Gordon lives in an apartment through the VA housing program and describes Kearn as heaven-sent.
“It just looked like he didn’t belong on the street.” Those are the words of Kearn Ardoin, peer recovery support specialist in our Partners in Recovery program, regarding her motivation to randomly initiate a conversation with a homeless man she was passing on the street.
Gordon, age 67, was a loner whose life was pretty rough when Ardoin connected with him that day. He told Ardoin he chose not to live in a shelter because the rules were too strict for him. He had been living in an apartment but it burned down, and he lost everything. His family knew he was on the street, but he didn’t want to get them involved.
“I was stubborn and thought I didn’t need any help,” Gordon relates. “When she [Ardoin] found me, I had a sleeping bag and a backpack. I had been homeless about a year and just living day-to-day.”
Although Gordon was a veteran, he didn’t want to have anything to do with the Veterans Administration (VA). Ardoin’s support helped bridge him to VA services. She brought him to get an ID card, which then provided him access to VA doctors and their veteran’s housing program. Within three months, Gordon started making doctor visits and got his veteran benefits back.
“Once I started going to the VA, they treated me well,” Gordon says. “The VA gave me a housing voucher and pays a portion of my housing.”
Gordon says it’s a new world for him now living in his apartment. On the street, there were very few people he would talk to. He was just not used to being on the street.
Gordon describes Ardoin as heaven-sent.
“My life turned around 100 percent,” Gordon says. “She got me back where I deserved to be and needed to be. She was very persistent and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
His advice: Stay strong and do what’s right. Good things will come to you. And go to the Houston Recovery Center!