For more than 30 years, Terry battled homelessness. He was a drifter and loved life on the open road. He has lived in and traveled through more than 38 states. For an “old farm boy,” this was ‘living the life.’ Every day was a new adventure.
To Terry, home was simply a place where he could lay his head: under a bridge, in a tent alongside the road, or even on a bedroll under the stars. “I’m kind of a wanderer. My dad said I always liked to ‘look over the fence’.” He sees his homelessness as a choice.
The adventurous, rambling lifestyle started to lose its shine for Terry, who is 76 years old. He was tired of always being on his toes. He had to stay vigilant of encampment thieves and losing his campsite.
Simple things started to become a burden, like getting up and down from the ground. It was agonizing. It was difficult for Terry to bear.
He avoided seeing a doctor for over 11 years. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Technically, he wasn’t broken yet. But he had aches, pains, stiffness, illness, and exhaustion. These things got harder to bear every day.
A home to heal in
In time, he had enough. Goodwill’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) team met Terry in a shelter in north Idaho. He agreed to get help from the program. And within a very short time, he got an apartment of his own.
SSVF worked with a property owner to help with the move-in costs. And Terry got a housing voucher that will guarantee affordable rent payments long term.
Goodwill also helped him get a full year of phone service. Now he can stay connected to necessary services, healthcare, and social support.
This has opened a whole new world of technology to him. Although it was intimidating at first, Terry said it was exciting. He set up his first ever email account and learned to take photos, make calls, and text.
He got essential move-in supplies such as toiletries cleaning materials, towels, cookware, and linens. His case manager made furniture arrangements and other home supplies from Newby-Ginnings (a veteran’s thrift store in Post Falls).
The stability he needed
To help him improve his overall health, he takes regular walks to the grocery stores and neighborhood markets. This helps him increase his stamina and overall heart health. Terry knows that whatever may be thrown his way, he can handle it. “I’m an overcomer. I don’t care what it is. I’ll overcome it.”
He’s made connections with his neighbors. Terry appreciates how well his neighbors have looked out for him. If the weather is poor or he is having difficulties walking, his neighbors are always there to lend a helping hand. They will drive him to the grocery store.
Terry looks forward to getting a driver’s license and buying a vehicle to get around town easier.
Since getting help from Goodwill, Terry has a stable home and bed that he can return to for a good night’s rest. He can focus on his long-term goals, such as improving his overall health.