He was only six in 2007, but Lorenzo A. still remembers the nine-hour trip to Miami. He recalls piling into the car with his mother and three sisters and heading south. “My mom was trying to get away from my abusive father and so we moved to Miami from our hometown of Sylvania, Georgia,” said Lorenzo. “It’s a very small town with no resources to help us start a new life.” They had nowhere to go except the open doors of a family friend, and after long weeks, a space became available at a shelter. “We lived there temporarily for about six months,” Lorenzo recalls, until the family was able to transition to Mother Seton Village, Camillus-sponsored housing near Homestead Air Force base where they lived for almost two years. “It allowed my mom, me and my three sisters some stability while my mom was getting divorced. It allowed us to get on our feet and recover,” said Lorenzo.
The family made lifelong friendships while there and Rickey still keeps in touch with many of them. However, Rickey quickly realized how different Miami is than a small town in Georgia, especially the cost of living. Because of this, he lived with his Mom until high school graduation to help support her. He’s been working since he was 16 years old “but it took a toll on me emotionally and mentally, it was a constant struggle.”
After graduating from high school in 2019, Lorenzo moved around couch-hopping, always finding work wherever he went. But he didn’t have a real plan for his future nor a real home. Because Camillus House had helped his family with kindness before, and now he had found himself on the verge of homelessness again, Lorenzo thought he should reach out for assistance.
Through community partners, Lorenzo was referred to Camillus as an unaccompanied youth (aged 18-24), where he was provided with a bed in our Youth Housing Initiative. Lorenzo moved in at the end of March. He’s since been working on his future by taking Camillus YOUniversity courses and through our Workforce Development program where he completed the Regions Security Training academy. “Camillus House has been a great experience, the staff are very helpful and empathetic, always going out of their way to understand all their clients better,” Lorenzo said. “I really appreciate their help and patience. Being around such a diverse group of people has taught me so many new things.” With a solid base and support from Camillus, Lorenzo is focused on building an even better future. “I want to go to college and get a business degree so I can help establish other organizations like Camillus House and help others out of situations like mine,” he said.
He credits living at Camillus House with providing him the opportunity to find a job. He is currently working in security thanks to his Workforce Development training and hopes to find a second job.
“Being at Camillus House has helped me regain my stability, allowing me to work and save money for when I move out. I’m also happy to say my mom is doing great and my siblings are all doing better in their endeavors. All of this is thanks to Camillus House taking us in, back in 2007. We couldn’t have done this without their help.”
Name and photo changed for privacy
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