Travis understands how difficult it is to be homeless. For years, he lived on the streets in his home state of Minnesota. He spent his time searching for safe places to stay, looking for his next meal, and using drugs to cope with the harsh reality of living outside. He was battling addiction and mental health issues. Some days, his only source of food was one meal at a soup kitchen. There is no homeless shelter in Travis’ hometown. When the weather was nice, he slept in a tent outside. When winter arrived, cold and depression set in at the same time. Without options, Travis often ended up in psychiatric units or treatment centers. He found himself in one such place last year. In December, he was discharged to Northlands Rescue Mission. Now, things are completely changing for Travis. He hasn’t used drugs in months. He has qualified for housing and is actively searching for work. Within a month or two, we expect that Travis will no longer be homeless. He will be living in his own apartment, focused on a healthy and stable future. Several things are making this life transformation possible. The Mission’s structure and resources play a big role. "The Mission is a blessing," Travis says. "This place empowers people to get back on their feet. I have somewhere to sleep. I can eat three meals a day. I can get clothes. I have a big support system now.”
That support system includes Mission staff and a case worker at Spectra Health. With the help of the Mission’s advocacy team, Travis applied for Section 8 housing and was approved. He has used the Mission’s Kickstart Lab to build a resume. Now, he is searching for temporary work through agencies like HireQuest and Express Employment. Travis also has mental health and addiction resources at his disposal. “This place actually does help with my substance abuse,” Travis says of the Mission. “Being in a structured environment really helps. Staying busy keeps you off drugs. I have no interest [in them] anymore.” A support system is critical, but Travis’ attitude is also contributing to his success. “I like being positive,” he says. “I've realized nothing will happen unless I get up and do it. That’s what got me the motivation to start working on things. You make small goals and work toward bigger goals, and you’re going to see results.” Travis is eager to help out with chores around the Mission. He enjoys doing so because it’s a chance to get some exercise. “If anyone needs anything, I’m not even hesitant to just get up and help,” he says. Travis regularly volunteers in the kitchen and helps bring in donations. In fact, he spent the better part of an hour unloading a delivery for the Backpack Program just before talking with us. “Now I don’t have to go to the gym today!” he jokes.
Travis does actually go to the gym regularly. Spectra Health was able to get him a pass to the YMCA, and he enjoys exercising there whenever he can. It’s one of the things that helps him stay focused. Another such thing is his affinity for electronics.
Travis has experience building computers, repairing phones, and refurbishing video game consoles. Once he is settled, he’d like to take some certification courses from Northland Community & Technical College. He says he’d enjoy working at a Grand Forks business such as Fast Phone Repair. He even envisions starting his own repair store someday. “Those kinds of places are like sanctuaries to me,” he says.
At the Mission, we see so many clients who share Travis’ focus on working towards a better future. With a safe environment and a little bit of support, they set goals, follow through, and end up housed.
“If the Mission wasn’t here, I would probably be actively using,” Travis says. “I’d be in risky situations, doing anything I can just to get through the day." "I can't stress enough how thankful I have to have support, to have clothes, to be able to go out into the community and be clean," Travis says. “Everyone deserves a second chance,” Travis tells us. We agree. As a Mission donor, we’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making that second chance a reality for so many!
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. - Ephesians 4:22-24
Your support is creating a safe, supportive environment for our clients. Thank you for making real change possible.