Homeless to Housing Success Story: Meet Donny in His Apartment

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This past March I was in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, speaking at a homeless conference. Whenever I can I ask to be taken out with an outreach team to meet new people. I have to be honest, there is a reason I moved from Upstate New York to Sunny, Southern California – I hate cold! It was so cold I thought my face was going to fall off. I was close to asking them to take me back to the warm car when we saw a man in a doorway.

Donny has been homeless over twenty years. Watch the original video I taped that night here. He had nothing but a blanket and the heating vent from a local business to stay warm. I honestly don’t know how he survived.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Calgary Homeless Foundation Donny now has a home. After Donny’s video was posted the Calgary Homeless Foundation went out and found him to get Donny into housing! This is a near textbook model of why Housing First model works. It’s nearly impossible to get sober while living on the streets. People need dignity and self-worth. Once Donny was in an apartment he decided to change his life. He has stopped using drugs and is even looking for a job.

I was honored to spend some time with Donny this week. CTV News also covered the story with a powerful video you can watch here.

  • Anonymous

    incredibly inspiring!

  • cyinger

    What a good person! Thank you everyone who doesn’t turn a blind eye & helps your fellow man. Proves there are a lot of good ppl without homes, just needing & deserving a little help.  We have to help one another.  That is what life is about. The amount of ppl who judge shocks & disgusts me.  They never know when it could be them needing help.  Better hope they don’t get the same as they’re giving!

  • Anonymous

    Awesome!!!!!!

  • Wandajcody

    OH MY STORY IS SO DIFERENT I WAS ON MY WAY UP TAKING CARE OF MY THREE SONS I HAD KICKED ALL THE VICES AND WAS GOING TO START A JANITORIAL BUSINESS WHEN A PEDAPHILLE STARTED FOLLOWING MY SON TO AND FROM SCHOOL I WENT TO THE POLICE AND SCHOOL NO HELP WE CANT DO ANYTHING CARROLTON POLICE SAID UNLESS HE TOUCHES HIM FEELING TRAPPED I MOVED MY FURNITURE IN STORAGE AND MOVE THEM INTO STORAGE WE MOVED IN A MOTEL AND BECAME HOMELESS I TRIED MY BEST TO WORK THREE JOBS TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING BUT I COULDNT DO IT LOST IT YOU DONT EVEN WANT TO KNOW THE OUT COME I DO WANT TO SAY YOU CANT LOOSE WITH JESUS CHRIST IN YOUR HEART RULES ,

  • http://www.fashionblinds.ie/ window blinds

    Most of the time, people who live on the streets just need a small nudge in the right direction. Your right, it’s very difficult to give up alcohol on the street because it’s only when some homeless people drink they have any kind of self worth. As the expression goes, “give a little, it helps a lot”

  • secondhandnana

    Mark,
    You are definitely working for the downtrodden. Dignity is the name of the day. Hope for the hopeless, for as many failures, there are more successes than failures and that needs to be the focus. Most of the addictive self medicating is related to the pain of life. Sanctuary, that is what home is, a place to feel safe and a place to just be.
    Bless you Mark and you bless those you are helping.
    A retired psych nurse.

    Nancy

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