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The Tunnel’s Light

Friday, March 26, 2021 by Shari Gantman

There is one thing that Errick Sanders wants you to know.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  You must work your way through some bad days to earn the best days.  And that’s just what he did…

Following his own advice led Errick into the Rapid Rehousing program at Camillus House. He’s enjoying his ‘best days’ in his own apartment and getting his life back on track.  Rapid rehousing’s premise is that by connecting people with a home and supportive services, they are in a better position to address challenges that may have led to their homelessness.  

The Miami-Dade County Homeless Continuum of Care Rapid Re-Housing Programs provide financial assistance and services to help individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless to be quickly re-housed and stabilized.  Based on determination of need, assistance may be in the form of move-in expenses, limited rental assistance, housing search and placement assistance as well as housing stability case management.

According to Errick, “I feel like a human being again in my apartment thanks to Camillus House. I get up, enjoy a daily routine of washing dishes, cleaning the mirrors, and making sure my home is spotless.  Everything shines bright because I never lost hope looking for the light.” His resolve has taken him through difficult times.

Before coming to Camillus House in 2019, Errick faced many challenges.  Born into a broken family of nine sisters and one older brother, Errick was in and out of foster homes due to abuse and neglect.  Knowing that this is not how he wanted to live, Errick washed cars, mowed lawns and did whatever he could to earn money to learn skills toward a career.  ‘I l also learned to love myself,’ he said.

Soon he was flying high with a position working on exhaust systems of airplanes.  But his dreams came crashing down after suffering a hip injury outside of work. He lost his job and the lifestyle that went along with a steady income. Without the ability to pay rent, he slept in his car or on the streets.  He recalls, “This wasn’t living.  Life is too short, so I had to find a better way of life.”  A buddy told him about the guys in green shirts, workers that are part of Miami’s Homeless Assistance Program, by the Government Center downtown Miami. ‘Find them and you’ll find a new way,’ his friend said.  And he did.

“I am blessed as God looked out for me when I was placed at Camillus House. The staff comes to work not because it is a job. They come to work because they really care about people.  I was now on the path to seeing those brighter days that always keep me going forward.”  

In just over one year, Errick was told by his counselor that he qualified for the Rapid Rehousing Program. The first step was finding the right apartment.  “My counselor became my realtor as we set out to look at a few places, but as soon as I saw the first one, that was it.  It was clean, nice and even had a guard gate.” It is no wonder he takes pride in his appearance too.

As he settles into his new apartment, he plans on fixing up his car and getting back to work, maybe electronics repair like fixing cell phones. Handsomely dressed and well-spoken, Errick offers a future employer his professional skills and philosophy.  “Always be helpful to others.  And never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.”  

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