In 2016, a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which led to numerous extended hospital visits, caused Paul to lose his job. Stuck with medical bills he could not pay, Paul began sleeping in his car. Weeks of sleeping in his car turned to months, and then years. Paul tried to apply for housing on his own. He filled out applications with the City of Asheville for Section 8 housing, but with extremely long waiting lists, nothing came through.
“Not having a house is hard,” Paul said. “Once I was parked on Leicester Highway and had to fight two guys who tried to steal my car. Violence isn’t good, but it’s sometimes necessary.” Paul preferred to park his car in an Ingles parking lot where the manager turned a blind eye to his presence. There was also a lady who worked in the Ingles deli who would bring me a hot meal every day. One day she found me in my car sick with pneumonia. She knocked on my window and when I didn’t answer, she called 911. She saved my life.”
Living unhoused made Paul’s health condition worse. “I used alcohol to feel better,” he admits. It was a temporary fix that often made him feel worse later on.
Through Homeward Bound’s Civilian Rapid Rehousing program, Paul was finally connected to his case manager, Flint. “We found a house really fast,” Paul says. “I couldn’t believe it. It was like divine intervention – no question about that.”
After one month in his home, Paul’s health has improved. Flint and Paul will continue to work together to make sure Paul’s transition to his new home is successful. Paul’s appreciation is visible on his smiling face when he says, “We make a great team.”