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I want to see a brighter future for myself: Michael 

November 20, 2023

Michael’s time in Columbia’s Pallet village has given him the chance to focus on himself, his goals of becoming a business owner, and starting his new journey. 

Michael served in the Army for 18 years and returned home to Columbia when a house fire claimed the lives of his mother, father, aunt, uncle, and two children. After this devastating loss, he had nowhere to call home. Insurance didn’t cover the tragedy he had sustained. 

He temporarily bounced between different local homeless shelters, struggling with depression and turning to alcohol and substances. It was at one of the shelters where a fellow guest told him about the Pallet village being built nearby. 

Michael says moving into the village has given him stability to rebuild his life. 

“I’m finding myself,” he says. “I made some slips and falls, but I’m eager to get right back up. I'm mainly right now focused on how I can get back to where I need to be in life. Not where I was, but where I need to be.” 

Working with his case manager, Michael is making steps to securing documents that were lost like an ID, birth certificate, and social security card to get approved for permanent housing. When he moves out of the village, he hopes to own and operate an auto shop—he already has experience in the field and an automotive service excellence (ASE) certificate. 

After experiencing trauma, Michael still needs time to recover and stabilize. But he says living in the Pallet village and having his own shelter has given him peace of mind: he’s attending counseling for his depression and starting to see the potential for positive change ahead. 

“You know, like I was telling a lot of people, life is like a noun,” he says. “You have to change people, faces, and things in order to get a better outlook on your life. And for my aspect of looking out, I want to see a brighter future for myself.” 

He has hope that a new life is waiting for him once he transitions out of the village. 

“In five years, I want to own my own home and have my own business,” Michael says. “With a new family. I see that promise.” 

Learn more about the Rapid Shelter Columbia village by reading our case study. 

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