Hector has worked hard all his life and he took great pride in that. But it all changed two years ago when Hector was diagnosed with a disabling condition that left him unable to work. He had always been healthy but suddenly he started to feel sick all the time and lost a lot of weight. Hector was hospitalized for five days and it was there they discovered he had diabetic neuropathy, a condition that damages the nerves in ones legs and feet. He explains, "My blood sugar was so high, I almost died."
Hector kept trying to go back to work but he was never able to handle the physical requirements of his jobs because of his condition. It was difficult to get work and impossible to treat his illness without a home. "I had my own apartment," he explains, "then I got sick. So I sold everything to try and pay rent, cashed in my 401K. But I had to move out. I stayed with friends a few days a week but would end up having to leave so I would sleep in my car. And I have sleep apnea too and you can't plug in your breathing machine when you are in your car."
Then one day, very recently, a friend of his who works at the Apartment Association of New Mexico urged him to apply to the apartments run by Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico. Hector came to us and fortunately we had a unit available. Because of his disability, Hector already qualified to be housed at the property. However, SHC-NM also has a "homeless preference" in our Tenant Selection Plan at our HUD 811 properties. That means we are able to house people who are experiencing homelessness quickly even if there is a waiting list for the units.
For Hector, all this was beyond his expectations. He was especially touched when he received his "Welcome Home Basket" from SHC-NM filled with items to help him get started in his new home. "I have hope now," says Hector, "hope that I can treat my illness and get back on my feet now that I have a stable place to live. I still can't believe I have my own place."
For more information on the HUD homeless preference click
For more information on SHC-NM's Welcome Home Basket Project click