At first glance, David looks like an average, intelligent computer geek. He is more comfortable surrounded by monitors and screens than by people. He also prefers online games to conversation. Like everyone, Dave has a story but he would rather write gaming code than tell you about himself. When he does open up, he has a wicked sense of humor that he now shares openly with the staff and members of Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living (TRIPIL). That sense of humor — and more than a little stubbornness — have helped him to build his road to success while using the supports that TRIPIL offers.
While using our free internet café, he got to know our staff. Eventually, he disclosed the history of abuse and psychiatric institutionalization that had been the story of his life. As an adult, he moved around aimlessly and developed a varied and fragmented work record. In fact, David was homeless when he first came to our CIL. He was also angry and frustrated by the lack of safety nets needed to support people with multiple disabilities. Over time, David’s trust in our staff helped him to realize that Tri-County Patriots was not a typical social service agency. Simultaneously, we grew to understand that David’s primary goal in life was to experience something he had never known before: a safe place to live that belonged just to him.
Peer support and skills training helped David to navigate the systems necessary to receive the disability benefits for which he was eligible. Part-time employment as a computer café assistant further anchored his progress toward independence. His skills were valuable, but he ultimately decided to focus on improving his health and working toward self-sufficiency in a place to call home. He applied for public housing in Washington County and was approved for a one-bedroom apartment. He remembers that one of the happiest days of his life was the day he moved into his apartment and was able to sit and relax on a sofa he had purchased with his own money.
David still visits the CIL regularly and proudly says that he is happy being independent. He has become involved in his community and works to improve life in his neighborhood. This new chapter in David’s story is a poignant reminder that core services can help a person move through tough times from surviving to thriving.