I grew up in Painesville, an only child with two loving parents. I had a normal childhood and grew into a normal teenager who was popular, loved sports and extracurricular activities, and graduated with honors from high school.
At the age of 22 I spent a month in a psychiatric hospital after dropping out of college, and was diagnosed as bipolar and placed on medication. The next thirty years of my life was a merry-go-round of normalcy, success, and stability, mixed with periods of self-medication with drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, anything that would change the way I felt. In 2002, both of my parents passed away within three days of each other, leaving me on my own. At first I did well. Eventually, however, my addictions and mental illness returned and I found myself homeless, jobless, and hopeless. That was in March of 2013.
In May 2013 my case manager from Crossroads got me placed into Northcoast House, an Extended Housing property. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. McKinley Grove was opening in July and I was fortunate enough to be one of a group from Northcoast House that were chosen to move in there.
Daily I continue on, taking my medication, working on my recovery, going to counseling, and attending church on a regular basis. I am retired now, but keep busy on the
Extended Housing Board of Directors, volunteer on their Homeless Advisory Council, am President of the Formal Tenant Organization and am an At-Large Board Member for the Balance of State Continuum of Care of COHHIO (Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio).
I can never repay Extended Housing for everything they have done for me.