This month, we are honored to share Clinton’s story of finding freedom and independence while rebuilding his life after escaping an unsafe situation.
Trigger warning: Talk of domestic violence.
“I saw my friends who are women going through abuse, and it always seemed to be very physical and tangible. I was angry to one day realize that I had also been going through that situation for a long time–it just looked different,” Clinton recalls when looking back on his previous relationship. Abusive or unsafe relationships can take many forms, and while Clinton did undergo physical violence, a big part of the abuse was also control and manipulation.
Clinton was able to escape the unsafe situation this past summer and move up to Central Oregon. And while his life lay in pieces before him, he mustered the inner-strength to begin rediscovering independence, freedom, and himself for the first time in many years. One of the first things Clinton did when he arrived in Central Oregon was work on getting his drivers license and a car. And while it took many long waits at the DMV–and even a night camped out in their parking lot–Clinton finally got that key piece of his independence.
As he spent months camping out of his car, he remembers calling any local organization he could find in search of help before coming across Thrive. On his fixed income of monthly disability benefits, finding affordable and secure housing remained a major challenge. Through our organization, Clinton completed an assessment that entered his name into the pool to possibly receive an Emergency Housing Voucher, a program in which recipients pay 30% of their monthly income towards rent and the voucher covers the rest of it. After about a month of waiting, Clinton was pulled for the voucher program, greatly opening up his housing options.
From there, a member of our team, Johannah, walked alongside Clinton as he navigated the oftentimes overwhelming and disheartening housing search. During their weekly meetings, Johannah showed Clinton different affordable and market-rate housing options she had found and assisted him in applying and paying the application fees through Thrive funding. “If it wasn’t for Johannah filling out all those applications online, I probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere,” Clinton said. Johannah also connected Clinton with various resources to aid him as he lived outdoors, such as a propane heater, food, and other basic needs resources.
And while in the midst of trying to overcome houselessness, Clinton tackled the challenge of maintaining the progress he had made towards his mental health over the years. Regular meetings with counselors at the behavioral health clinic were key, but Clinton also sites Johannah as a source of support during this difficult time. Understandably, Clinton sometimes came to his meetings with Johannah in states of distress, and with gratitude, he recalls the support and counseling that Johannah offered him. “I didn’t think I could get through it. Working with Johannah was so helpful. I lack the words to actually say how much Johannah has helped.”
After months of applying to properties, Clinton was accepted for a unit through a local market-rate property management company. Thrive worked with Housing Works to pay the deposit, and Clinton was able to move in in late December. When describing his life today, Clinton expresses that he still feels in shock that he finally has his own place. He is now able to focus on other areas of his life such as his mental health, spending time with his children, and becoming more active and social in the community. After losing so much control over his life in his previous relationship, Clinton is rediscovering things that make him feel fulfilled and like his true self. We could not be happier for Clinton and are so grateful to him for sharing his story.