April 23, 2015

Homelessness can happen to ANYONE

Medical bills stole everything from Greg. Friends like you gave him a second chance.Greg* worked hard his whole life. He and his wife were happy and settled into their home. They had a 401k and were looking ahead to retirement and more time together. Then tragedy struck.

Greg’s wife broke her ankle. Such a simple accident. It could happen to anyone. But after surgery, a rare infection set in. Medical bills piled up as she went through round after round of treatment.

“At one point, I was paying $2,800 a month for insurance premiums,” Greg, a hard-working electronics technician says.

He had no choice. He loved his wife and would do anything for her.

Being middle class, Greg and his wife didn’t qualify for government assistance. As the medical bills poured in they couldn’t keep up. Greg drained his 401k and sold their house, but it still wasn’t enough.

After fighting the infections for three years, his wife began to suffer brain aneurysms. They went in and operated. “The surgery from that alone was a little over a million dollars,” said Greg.

“If you’ve got money and you’re in the middle class, your money doesn’t help you.”

After years of fighting to recover, Greg’s wife tragically passed away leaving him with a broken heart and a mountain of unpaid medical bills.

Being retired and in his 50s, Greg struggled to find work as employers continually hired younger men and women. He was able to find temporary work at a food bank, where he was paid with grant money, but as soon as the grant ran out, so did Greg’s job.

“I really want to work,” he says. Yet none of the jobs he could find were enough to cover his rent. Suddenly, in his late 50s, Greg was homeless for the first time in his life.

“I was feeling depressed. Very depressed. Scared. I had never stayed in a Mission before,” he says.

Around the same time, Greg’s broken heart turned literal as he suffered from four heart attacks within four years – two of them while he was at the Mission. In spite of following a strict diet and being careful about everything he does, Greg’s health continued to decline.

He is the perfect example of how homelessness can happen to anyone. It’s beyond our control. Greg didn’t do anything wrong yet in spite of trying as hard as he could, he still couldn’t get back on his feet without help.

That’s why your support is so crucial. You give people like Greg food, shelter and hope. When all else is lost, you are there. That’s why I love our community and why I’m so thankful for friends like you!

When I look at Greg, I realize that I could be in his situation some day. In fact, you could too. That makes me all the more grateful for compassionate people like you who take God’s call to help the needy so seriously.

You can feel good about every gift you give to the Mission, knowing it makes a difference. In fact, today Greg is doing well and living on his own. He has no idea where he’d be without the Mission and friends like you.

“This place does a lot of good. Thank God it’s here,” he says.


*Name changed for privacy.