Permanent Supportive Housing
"God is good." That is how blessed Alfred feels today. Alfred did not always feel so blessed, though. Growing up in Tulsa, Alfred said it was not easy and he does not know how his mother did it. "I am the only surviving child to my mother. Not sure how she (is) still here, to tell you the truth!" (Laughs) Alfred is a Volunteers of America Oklahoma Permanent Supportive Housing client and has been for four years. Before becoming a client, he was homeless for nearly five years.
Like many individuals experiencing homelessness, Alfred is also a veteran. During his bout of homelessness, Alfred suffered bipolar disorder and depression, abused alcohol and drugs and as a result is now considered a high risk for certain types of cancer. In 2012, Alfred was referred to Volunteers of America Oklahoma from the drug and alcohol center in downtown Tulsa. Alfred's life was muddied stemming from his mental illness coming in and out of his life, many times over. By 2011, he was living on the streets and realized he had to seek help. Volunteers of America Oklahoma's trained staff of professionals assisted him with means to dental services (dentures), food pantry services, and transportation needs and of course, a place to call "home."
As a permanent supportive housing client, Alfred has had to prove his commitment to the program thus maintaining his sobriety with medication to stabilize his bipolar diagnosis. Now that Alfred feels more confident and better about himself, he looks forward to caring for his 95 year-old mother throughout the week by being a good housekeeper for her and himself.
Every year, Volunteers of America Oklahoma honors a client based on their dedication to living their life healthfully and independently. This year, the "Heart of Courage" winner was Alfred. Alfred was honored at our annual fundraising event, Rhinestone Cowboy: A Star-Spangled Rodeo. We are thrilled to honor him for his "heart of courage" to overcome and persevere.
Alfred says he is appreciative for what Volunteers of America Oklahoma has done for him, "This program has allowed me to have my own private space where no 'aliens' (drug addicts) can find me…Without this program, I wouldn't have survived this long."