Ronnie spent most of his childhood in an orphanage in Atlanta. His father was an alcoholic and never home and his mother suffered from mental illness. He was placed in a children’s home when he was nine.
At 18, Ronnie walked out of the children’s home with nothing but the clothes on his back. He had no money, no family and nowhere to go so he lived in the woods for a year. Ronnie is not the kind of person who gives up. He claims to not have much in the way of book smarts but plenty of street smarts and he eventually got a full-time job as a maintenance man for a motel.
Life was good. For ten years he had a respectable job, a home, a wife and two kids and a truck, until one day he had an accident. Ronnie took on a side job painting a couple’s home and was replacing the shutters on the house when he fell 40 feet down the ladder and broke his heel bone and suffered some other injuries. With no health insurance, Ronnie could not have the surgery he so badly needed. He couldn’t walk for three years and lost everything. He tried to get disability income but was continually denied. For 20 years he lived in and out of shelters and on the streets.
Four years ago he walked into AHOPE and was assigned to Homeward Bound’s housing team. He was placed in public housing, where he lived for two years. He finally got his disability benefits and moved into an apartment with disability access features including walk-in showers, wider doorways, lower cabinets, and extra floor space. His apartment in a very safe neighborhood, with sidewalks and easy access to grocery shopping.
Amanda, Ronnie’s case manager said, “Ronnie loves his new home. Despite his disabilities and using a walker, Ronnie loves to walk. He walks at least two miles every day. Ronnie has a heart of gold. After so many struggles in his life, he continues to have a great attitude and believes in being good to everyone.”
Ronnie’s doctors think that he will be in a wheel chair by the end of the year, but Ronnie said that he will continue fighting no matter what comes his way.