I was in the Navy. I served for six years. When my mother was sick, I took care of her. When she passed away, I sold the house. I split the money with my sister, and gave most of my half to my daughter for her college tuition.
I had a VASH voucher and lived in Revere. I took the first place I saw, in a bad neighborhood. One thing led to another, and in the winter everyone would want to stay at my apartment. I let them stay, but it was against the rules. Eventually I was kicked out.
After that, I stayed homeless for a little while. Being homeless, you learn to adapt. I was couch-surfing too, staying with friends – but you can only do it for so long. I’ve slept outside too. Under bridges, on benches…
One woman who came to the beach in Revere every Saturday brought food and clothing. On the last day I was down there, I told her I couldn’t do it anymore. She helped me get to Boston where I found a detox center. It was there that Pine Street found me and helped me get into the veterans house on Hartford Street.
I was nervous because I’d never lived in Dorchester. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was numb when I got my keys. It didn’t register right away.
Kathy introduced me to everyone in the house, and I was immediately comforted. It was a warm atmosphere – more like family and a home.
Everyone in the house cooks for each other. I've been at Hartford for several months. It’s nice and clean, and the rules are simple to follow. I’m trying to get out of there to open up the spot for someone else, but I’m going to miss it when I leave.
It’s hard to work, because I’ve been in a few car accidents – a few as a pedestrian and a few when I was in the car. I have a lot of health issues because of it, resulting in a few different surgeries.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever be rich, but I’m grateful to just get by. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work, including helping the woman who got me to Boston. I like being busy.
Sometimes if you don’t keep your mind where you want to be, homelessness can make you distraught. My advice to others would be don’t quit. If you quit, it's nobody's fault but your own. Put your pride aside and ask for help. If you quit on yourself, you have to live with that forever.
David, pictured here with Pine Street President Lyndia Downie, spoke at the annual Winter Walk.