Walk of Hope: Dan’s Story

Daniel found himself on the verge of homelessness a few months ago. Only one day from a court-ordered eviction, Daniel described the situation as completely surreal. He never thought something like this would happen to him. After all, he had spent decades working hard as a corporate executive and paying his dues. But, as he learned, it can happen to anyone…

Daniel was born on July 4th in Bridal Veil, Oregon, a small town 30 miles east of Portland. His parents died when he was in the 4th grade and he moved in with his aunt in the city. To help pay for bills, he began working at age 12 picking berries, and continued working various jobs through his teen years while attending school until eventually becoming a PR executive in California. His duties included organizing conferences for well-known motivational speakers such as Zig Zigler, Tommy Hopkins, and Tony Robbins. He moved to Eugene in 2001 as an independent Public-Relations, Technology, and Marketing consultant, working until his health deteriorated at an alarmingly fast rate. 

Diabetes, Peripheral Artery Disease,and a heart condition made it so he not walk or stand for long periods of time, let alone work. Worrying about his health and financial needs put him in a state of constant stress, and everyday he woke on the edge of a breakdown, with the thought, “How will I survive?” Daniel began knocking on everyone’s door for help. Most organizations told him they couldn’t help, because even though he was on the edge of eviction, he was still housed. One day, Lane Independent Living Alliance referred him to ShelterCare’s Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) which provides rental assistance for those on the verge of homelessness. After filling out the paperwork, Daniel received the great news: he had been accepted into HPP!

ShelterCare paid Daniel’s rent and connected him with ShelterCare caseworker, Brianna. Daniel describes her as, “a wonderful and positive human being” who helped him get his social security in order and helped his landlord understand the situation, who deferred the last couple months of rent payment. Daniel now wakes up with feelings of gratitude and contentment. No longer does he worry about his bills, and each day, he can live to his heart’s content. Somedays, he enjoys packing a tuna sandwich, his camera, and fishing gear for a day-trip along the McKenzie River. On Fridays, he does “Free Lunch Friday” where he makes about 100 baloney and cheese sandwiches and gives them to anyone who wants one. Daniel says, “If everyone gave just a little bit everyday, the world would be a much better place.” 

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