WHAT LED YOU TO THE OPEN SHELTER? “I asked some homeless guys where to get stuff at and they told me the location. They showed me where to go and ever since I have been coming here. It was about eight or nine years ago. I didn’t have anywhere to go. I didn’t want to live with my family. I needed to go away and get my stuff together. There was drama. I wanted to be by myself. I was staying in a tent in downtown.”
“I would get up at 7 in the morning. Trying to find places to eat, get clothes and stuff I need. I never had any real problems except for the city coming down and tearing people’s tents down for no reason. I lost a lot of things. Sometimes other campers won’t tell you if the city is coming. So if you go away for a couple of days, your stuff could be gone.”
“I am 37 years old. I was born in Chicago and raised in Memphis. I was adopted at the age of 5. We were moving from city to city. When my grandmother died, there was no family. I came to Columbus when I was 18. I came here with my adopted mom. She waited until I was 18 and then she left. Being in a foster home wasn’t fun. She just wanted the money. It wasn’t fun. I was working when I was 16. Paying bills at 16, at an early age. When I was with her and was working, then I knew what I needed to do to be on my own; to get a job. I had to work hard and get my life together. I got my life together. I got a place.”
HOW HAS THE OPEN SHELTER HELPED YOU? “At first, I was scared being around so many people. It was scary. But when I got here, they helped me a lot. Helping me with what I need, with clothes and food. They help you survive out here. The Open Shelter has helped me a lot. I can get my mail here if I need it.”
“I got my new place a few months ago. It’s great. I have my own area. I can clear my mind. I am working a part time job at Franklinton Cycle Works. I was working at Huntington Park. We would clean up the seating area. I worked there for about four months. Ben Sears (Outreach Advocate) helped me get my new place. We’ve been friends, been riding bikes for about a minute. We would talk and I told him I was homeless. He helped me out a lot, filling out paperwork and getting me in my new place. He helped me with IMPACT, to help lower my bills. Sheli Mathias (Open Shelter Director) has helped me with getting furniture for my new place.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PASSION FOR CYCLING. “I work at Franklinton Cycle Works. I fix bikes. I also work as a parking valet for the bike shop at Crew and Ohio State games. It’s fun and gives me something to do. It keeps me out of trouble. It’s fun to ride. When you ride, you meet people. You might see friends and family. It keeps your body right. It keeps you in shape. I was diabetic. I am not diabetic anymore because of riding a bike. I became passionate about it about three or four years ago.”
“The longest bike ride I took was to DC. It took about a week. Myself and two others went on the ride. We stayed at camps and hotels. I almost gave up on the fourth day. But my boy, he said ‘Don’t give up, we’re here together’. I didn’t give up. I ride with these two guys on a regular basis. It’s like a team and a family. Whoever I am with they are my family. Just like The Open Shelter, they are my family.”
Solomon Dean (Deputy Director of Day Services)— “Quincy started out coming to our meals. He is a good person. He is always willing to help out when needed. He has always been the same. He is very protective of The Open Shelter. He tells others about us and how we can help you out. I didn’t even know he worked at the bike shop until I went there to get a bike. He is down to earth. He is always on the go. I see a difference in him now that he is housed. He seems happier and enjoying life more. He only gets stuff when he needs it. He always asks what he can help with. He does things from the kindness of his heart and is very appreciative. He is a good person. He definitely puts other people’s needs before his, even when he was staying outside. He has a very generous heart.”
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