A Safe Place to Call Home
Before he got his apartment at Renaissance at Trinity Larry had been living on the streets of Fresno for almost five years. Born and raised in Fresno, he has had his share of troubles. “Out on the street, friends get you in trouble. I get myself in trouble. That’s how it is.”
“When you live out in the streets under those bridges with about 50 other people – you just can’t trust nobody out there,” he said “There’s a lot of things happening you don’t want to see. I got jumped twice. Someone pulled a gun on me, took my wallet. I don’t want to go through that any more.”
Even when he could secure a room at missions or shelters, Larry never felt safe. “I got a lot of things stolen at those places, even my hearing aids,” he said. “You can’t keep nothing out there.”
Even sleeping was difficult. At some shelters residents had to leave at 5 a.m. – rain or shine. And on the streets, city workers would often disturb people for street sweeping.
So when some of Larry’s friends found apartments through the Fresno Housing Authority, they encouraged him to apply. “They said there was a big waiting list, almost five years.”
But now, with the completion of several new developments by Fresno Housing Authority, more apartments have become available. And more formerly homeless people like Larry are getting in.
“My social worker told me I had to come in or call the Housing Authority at least once a week. So I did.”
Larry’s persistence paid off. When other people on the waiting list repeatedly failed to show up for appointments, the Housing Authority contacted Larry and told him there was an apartment if he wanted it. “I told my sister and she said ‘You make sure you keep that appointment. If you have to be there, be there early.’ So my appointment was at 10:30 and I got there at 9:30. And they saw me right then.”
Larry has been living at Trinity since February 2012. He has friends who ask him why he wants to pay rent when he can live on the streets for free. “I say, I got my own shower, TV, my own bed. I don’t have to take all my things with me everywhere I go. I have a place where I can just leave them.”
But most important, says Larry, is the community at Trinity.
“I got good friends here now. If I need something they’ll help me out with it. Same thing with the front office and the manager. She always tries to help me out as much as she can and tell me what I need to know. And I try to do the same thing. I’ll do whatever they need and try to give back to them in the same way. I thank the Lord that I got a good place. I like it right here and I’d like to stay here as long as I could. It just feels like a big family.”
“And I don’t have to be looking over my back, to see if someone’s going to come and push me down and try to rob me again. I know I’m safe.
“I sleep a lot better now,” he says.