Darryl's Story

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The trauma of experiencing homelessness has a tremendous impact on our clients mental health and wellness, and oftentimes the lack of support and services makes it difficult for clients to access resources while experiencing homelessness. For Darryl, his addiction to drugs caused him to live in conditions that he once thought of as unimaginable. After years of battling addiction and living in a space that was simply uninhabitable, Darryl made the life-changing decision to seek help. 

Darryl believes that everything happens for a reason and having to reckon with his past, coupled with sheer determination, caused him to chart a positive path forward. “A lot of it was on me. I was in my own way,” Darryl admitted when reflecting on his experiences with housing instability. 

Darryl recalled living in his family home that he said was starting to fall apart. On cold winter days, Darryl remembered taking what money he had and going to the store to get a cup of soup to bring back to his home. He would then get underneath the covers and try to stay warm all day with nothing but the sounds of the radio nearby to keep him company.  

According to Darryl, those years were a dark time in his life which worsened due to his ongoing addiction. “I’ve never been homeless. I was really ashamed. I wouldn’t even reach out for help,” Darryl said. He admitted that his survival mentality stems from his upbringing in West Baltimore, witnessing his mother raise him and his six siblings. 

Although resources and access to basic needs like food were limited when he was growing up, Darryl found the game of basketball to be a necessary distraction and outlet to take his mind off his home situation and the impact of not having his father present in his life. 

Growing up without his father in the household fueled his desire to be a father figure in the lives of others. “I raised two kids that I call mine, because I know how it was to not have a parent in the household. So, while I was in this woman’s life I was raising her two kids. They call me their father and that's a job that I always wanted because I want that challenge and to show that this is the type of man that I want to be,” Darryl explained.

After years and years of battling his addiction, Darryl finally had enough. He put his pride aside and reached out for help. “My using was making my situation worse, so once I changed the way I thought, I started changing my life,” Darryl said. He was connected with TIME Organization and placed in their men’s emergency shelter space at the Holiday Inn Express in Downtown Baltimore before being connected to a more permanent housing option through Project PLASE. 

The timeline to be connected to housing varies from person to person, but Darryl was fortunate to be able to become stably housed in two to three months. “It’s not a quick fix,” Darryl admitted but he emphasized the power of having a choice and ensuring that whichever housing option he received would be the best fit for his needs.  

Becoming stably housed was not only a priority, but proved to be a pivotal step in shaping Darryl’s future. “At the beginning of my life, being a kid I had mixed feelings about how I was raised up, but I had a lot of good things that came out of my life, too,” Darryl reflected. “The sky’s the limit from now on.”

 

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