William is not overly forthcoming about himself — he is humble and chooses his words very carefully. What resonates most about William is how content and grateful he is. He spent most of our conversation complimenting Lisa Elmer, housing specialist at SAVE, Inc., for her work on his behalf. “They’ve been good to me. Lisa bends over backward for me.”
As William explains, after moving from Florida to Kansas in 2007 to be closer to family, he applied for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program through SAVE, Inc. He then met with SAVE, Inc.’s intake coordinator and his application was approved, which entitled him to a rental assistance voucher that he could use to find permanent housing. Soon after, William started searching for housing in Overland Park, KS, to be close to his brother. However, he quickly discovered that Overland Park was not the right “fit” for him.
William craved a smaller, quieter community with more privacy. He found just that in a community south of town, rich with trees and ponds. William said it is perfect for him (except that he wishes Wal-Mart was a little closer). Although he has many hobbies and likes to keep busy, he also relishes the privacy that gives him peace of mind. The nearest house is a “football field away,” so he gets the best of both worlds: many good neighbors who have become friends and plenty of space to enjoy his hobbies and privacy.
“Since getting this house, I have a better state of mind and a place I enjoy coming home to,” he said. His 2 bedroom, 1 bath home houses him and his best buddy and constant companion Louie, who William thinks is the “greatest dog in the world.” The fact that his community offers many activities is not lost on William, who regularly goes fishing with his brother in the neighborhood ponds and tends to the vegetable garden he put in, complete with zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. Although he says flowers are not for him, William enjoys landscaping with native grasses and shrubs. William is self-sufficient and wants to take care of himself. While his health does not allow him to work full-time, he is handy and likes to do home repairs and work around the property when he is physically able.
Having housing has done wonders for William’s mental well-being and has been vital for his physical health. Being in his own home means that it is not only more feasible for William to take his medication regularly, but he no longer has to hide his medications for fear of them being stolen. Consequently, housing has enabled William to take control of his own health regime.
Like most clients, William came to SAVE, Inc. wanting relatively little — a place to feel safe, somewhere to belong and someone to listen to him. “SAVE, Inc. has done an incredible job helping me — I can talk and am listened to.” William is a true success story because, with his determination and the assistance of SAVE, Inc., he found more than shelter – he found improved health in a home and community he loves.