Rayenell admits to messing up his marriage and a good, long-term job. “After that, I just didn’t care anymore; I wanted to be left alone.” The Illinois native endured 20 years of homelessness. “Indoors, outdoors, on the river and it wasn’t anybody’s fault but mine.”
Over the years, Rayenell learned how to get what he needed and appreciated what he got. “Being homeless is like living in another world, but everyone had a lesson to give me.” At first he came to St. Patrick Center for lunch, “but it’s way more than that.” Rayenell joined our Shamrock Club day treatment program and slowly realized how he could change his life. “I had to want it, and it took me a long time to get there.”
Eventually, Rayenell joined our Rapid Rehousing program and worked with his case manager to move into his first apartment in two-plus decades. “From the moment I got housed, I found myself, and things started changing.” Now, he enjoys solitude, cooking his own meals and eating them at home.
Rayenell recently signed another one-year lease. In the future, he hopes to get a dog, re-marry and become a fishing guide. “Words can’t describe how grateful I am. St. Patrick Center has been there for me for so long, it’s like they’re a part of me.”
[Thanks to Carly Wyss with Rapid Rehousing for contributing to this story. To view more success stories and videos from St. Patrick Center, click here.]