Camal is a survivor. This Somalian refugee fled his war-torn home and came to the U.S. seeking a better life in 2004 when he was 19. He ended up in the Greater Boston area because of connections with friends and now thinks of it as home.

Now 37, Camal became homeless after a relationship ended. The high cost of Boston rents made getting a place of his own out of reach. “I was able to stay with friends for a couple of years,” Camal says. “Once that got to be a burden for them, I ended up living on the streets.”

“Being homeless was a horrible experience,” Camal says. “It’s disheartening. You feel worthless and people try to take advantage of you. I tried staying in the shelter for a little while, but I have PTSD from my experiences in Somalia. Because of that, I don’t like crowds, so the shelter didn’t work for me.”

“I decided to make a change and get off the streets,” says Camal. “I was able to get a room at the YMCA in Cambridge. I’m glas that I asked for help when I did. I’m lucky that I ended up at the Y because one of the case managers told me about Pine Street Inn.”

Now in supportive housing at one Pine Street’s residences in Brookline, Camal is building a better life for himself. “I really like my apartment,” Camal says. “I’ve been here for around a year. My housemates and the staff are great and I love the neighborhood. I’m close to grocery stores and other shopping.”

“I’m working part-time as a security guard right now and exploring other opportunities,” Camal says. “One day, I hope to be able to buy a house of my own.”