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My Story with Trinity Center by James Kerwick

I arrived in Austin at the end of January. It was a spontaneous decision. I had a brother here, but I decided not tell anybody what I was doing. I was in the middle of a rather lengthy divorce in the UK. I had some other issues that I was dealing with, and I was probably feeling as low as I had ever had been. My phone was destroyed, I had no cash or I.D., and to top things off, it was freezing in Austin.

I met some cool street people almost right away. Christina, with her dog Gator, Miami, from Miami, Houdini, and Jennifer. They were spending the night in the parking garage next to the Trinity Center. Almost the first thing they said was, "You're welcome to stay with us." Miami said he would show me everything I needed to know to make it in Austin, how to obtain food, a bus pass, and blankets. Also where it's safe, and relatively warm, to sleep at night.

The next morning I had breakfast at the Trinity Center. I also received a two-year bus pass, and a service point I.D. I listened to Will making announcements, as to what resources Trinity had, and which days they were available. Everyone working there was extremely polite and kind. When I observed situations that would have had me livid, the staff at Trinity always handle things in a calm, cool manner. I was impressed, that's for sure.

I utilized the resources Trinity had to offer. Jaimee, an intern with Trinity, instructed me on how to do a housing assessment. Jaimee also helped me apply for food stamps. We applied on a Friday, I was approved the following Wednesday. I received a MAP card the same day, it's a good thing too, because unfortunately, I ended up needing it very soon after, more than once.

I met many good people at Trinity. One day Jaimee asked to speak with me when I had a chance. She told me that she was so happy to be my case manager, she couldn't wait to get the ball rolling. I was surprised and delighted. I am not sure how it happened, I don't remember if I put my name on a list requesting one, or if the staff saw my strong desire to get on track again. It didn't matter, I had someone in my court. We set up to meet once a week.

We got my goals in chronological order, realistic goals that I should be able to achieve by certain timelines. Things like housing, employment, physical and mental health issues. During one meeting, Jaimee saw me struggling with my phone. She asked if I was having problems with it. I told her that I hated the bloody phone. Jaimee said that she would see if they could get one, and she did. When I wanted to start doing some day work, she got Trinity to supply me with a brand-new pair of steel-toed boots.

They also made sure I had the clothing I needed. I am very grateful for the material things that helped me get going, but the main thing that kept me upbeat and positive in this new reality I'm living is the companionship Trinity supplied. To have somebody in your corner rooting for you, actively supporting you, and me knowing they genuinely want to see me back on my own two feet. Having that is a soothing balm for one's brain.

I was very saddened when Jamie told me that our time together was coming to an end. Her time at Trinity was up... she was moving on. Jaimee told me that"Eunice" would be my case manager now. She said that she would check up on me in a couple months, to see how things are turning out.

I am seeing Eunice every week now. Well... I see her more often than that. We have our scheduled meetings once a week. One day I was in a bind because my ride to a job interview at Lake Travis fell through. I texted Eunice at the last minute, she booked me an Uber and I made the interview. The guy actually hired me, he said I would start in two weeks. I ended up not getting the job. When I called to see about the schedule, I was informed that the corporate office did a background check. He said he was sorry, he wanted to hire me anyway but it was out of this hands.

Trying to get a job with any kind of criminal record is another story. I'm working on it, I'll let you know how it turns out.

James Kerwick

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