Darren and his case worker hold up a Wings Welcome Home basket.
When Darren was 19 years old, he became a father. He had plans for college and more, but he set it all aside to raise his daughter. His life changed the day his daughter was brought to him and from then on, he was looking out for her.
Fast forward twenty years and Darren was injured and could no longer work. For the next several years he would get a series of surgeries to try and repair his injury and so he could get back to being a truck driver. But after a while without a job, he became homeless and lived in his car for several years.
In the Summer of 2021 he had just one surgery left to go - but there was a catch: Stanford wouldn't do the surgery unless there was someone to drive him afterwards - and an Uber ride didn't cut it. They said he needed someone who would monitor him as they drove him back over the hill.
He didn’t know what to do. His daughter was busy in college with no car and there was no one else he could call. A coordinator from the Safe Spaces program called Wings to see if there was anything we could do. One of our volunteers stepped up and took him to the surgery, waited for him, and then took him safely back to his car - an 8 hour journey and a 90 mile roundtrip!
After the successful surgery, he began working with a case manager that helped him apply for a housing voucher - but he needed a birth certificate to apply. So Wings helped Darren get his birth certificate and he got his housing voucher.
Then the housing search came. Darren said it was pretty depressing. He’d show up to a rental showing and over a hundred people would have already come and dropped off applications. He persevered and finally found a place that would rent to him with his voucher! But after living in his van for several years, he didn’t have what he needed to live in a house. He had no mattress, broom, cooking utensils, and so on. Wings helped Darren for the third time on his journey out of homelessness by bringing him a Welcome Home Package when he moved in.
Getting Darren housed took multiple agencies coordinating with one another, a lot of self-advocating, and help not slipping through the cracks in the system of care.