Finding structure and safety: Jeffrey
December 6, 2023
Living in the Rapid Shelter Columbia village, Jeffrey says he finds peace in the village’s safety, and the work program he’s involved in has made him more independent to embark on a new journey.
Before moving into Columbia’s shelter village, Jeffrey Hoover spent much of the past two years trying to find a safe place to rest, moving between a temporary congregate shelter and sleeping outside.
During a period staying behind the library, he learned from another unhoused neighbor about the village being built nearby. He connected with a social worker in the library and made it a priority to move in as soon as he could.
“I went the very next day, because he told me on a Sunday,” he says. “Monday morning, I was there, sharp.”
He says sleeping outside had a feeling of freedom, where he could see the stars and breathe the air. But he constantly felt worried about his safety—either being harmed by the elements or arrested for simply living his life in public. Staying in the village has made him feel more secure.
“I really love being here,” he says. “Because number one, it’s safe. Number two, when I was outside sleeping, I was always worrying about, ‘I gotta use the bathroom, where can I go?’”
With the help of his case worker, Jeffrey was hired to help run the village itself with custodial and watch duties. He feels like it’s helping him find structure and represents a link to finding permanent housing.
“It has made me sharper,” he says. “It has made me more dependable, independent. And because of the kind of person that I am, I know that this job one day will fade out because I'm looking for something even better and bigger. And I’ll find a place one day soon that I can call home.”
Recent Blog Posts
Pallet S2: Built by Lived Experience
All the details that come together to make our new S2 shelter line were inspired and informed by feedback from our own lived experience workforce.