Welcome to the “People of Pillars: A Portrait Gallery.” Every weekday in December, we will be sharing a portrait of an individual or individuals receiving services from Pillars as clients, tenants, or program participants. This gallery is an opportunity for the community to learn more about what the reality of homelessness is in the Fox Valley from those with lived experience.
It is important to note that all of the individuals featured in this gallery participated voluntarily and are willingly sharing their stories with you; however, their names have been changed to protect their privacy. Any statements, views, and opinions shared by these individuals are their own and are not endorsed by Pillars in any way. Conversations with these individuals were captured on Tuesday, November 2, 2022. Additional follow-up information about their journey to housing may be added separately as needed to bring their story up-to-date.
We introduced you to Mark* in a previous post. “My barriers were mostly legal issues and fear of signing leases and falling victim if things didn’t go according to the way I want them to go. Pillars let me at least sign a lease which keeps me in good standing. I’ve never been evicted, but if I were to get everything settled, I have the ability to leave. It’s not going to be held against me for breaking a lease. It’s affordable for rebuilding […] I’m already looking for apartments, but it’s hard to find anything worth living in that’s less than $750. Then you have to factor in if you have pets. Right now, my parents are taking care of my pets, and they’ll probably stay there, but if you want to have pets in the future, that’s an extra cost. All the bills here are included. When you’re homeless, too, it’s hard finding work without a permanent address. Thankfully, I had connections from while I was in college, and I was able to go back to slinging pizza. Where do you start? Not everybody can turn around say, ‘Hey man, give me some money, give me some hours.’ Just having a place that’s affordable, flexible, that really helps.” (Photo Credit: Adam Hilbelink, November 2, 2022) *The name of the client in this post has been changed to protect his privacy.