Life Gets Better and Better Every Day

Finally, I had a key in my hand for my own apartment. Every time I turn the key to open the door I feel appreciation and accomplishment. I’m now living where God wants me to be. I feel good about myself and fit into the lifestyle of being housed and mentally stable.

by Keith Arivnwine

The lifestyle of homelessness is a decision that I made. When I was homeless, I used a shopping basket to carry my belongings and to recycle. I met many homeless people at the recycling center. It was productive to collect cans.

Unfortunately, I saw many people using the money for wants, not basic needs. Also, I became accustomed to seeing stuff trashed and dumped on the street. Walking past disgusting things everyday became acceptable. I accepted the misery because I felt miserable.

When I was in jail, I felt a desire for change from within. Once I felt the touch, I started making changes in my life. I began to see my homeless lifestyle for what it was. I realized I needed help to be retrained.

I applied for General Assistance and used the funds to buy a cell phone and bus pass, which helped me to be successful in my new venture. Having good free meals and contact with people with positive attitudes in the community also helped.

I learned about St. Mary’s shelter when in jail and entered the shelter in December 2012. I attended the shelter’s wellness classes and did things I didn’t normally do. I took the classes seriously and looked at things for what they really are. The classes offered important training to maintain a proper lifestyle when housed. At St. Mary’s I was around positive people who also wanted to do something different with their lives.

St. Mary’s is across from a park where homeless people gather. When I’d see people in the park, I was reminded of my past, and felt strength to stay with my desire for change.

After engaging in St. Mary’s programs for four months, I had a key in my hand for my own studio apartment. Every time I turn the key to open the door to my apartment I feel appreciation and accomplishment.

I’m now living where God wants me to be. I feel good about myself and fit into the lifestyle of being housed and mentally stable. I keep in mind that everything starts from within. I will have obstacles in my life. I now know that when an unexpected situation happens, I can deal with it.

Life is so good and gets better and better every day. People who are homeless now come to me and ask, “How did you do it? How can I do the same?”

Susan Werner pins a boutonniere on Keith Arivnwine to honor his work as a photographer in documenting the conditions facing homeless people.  Lydia Gans photo

“Opening to a New Lifestyle.” Keith Arivnwine opens the door of his new apartment.

 

 

Susan Werner pins a boutonniere on Keith Arivnwine to honor his work as a photographer in documenting the conditions facing homeless people.  Lydia Gans photo

Susan Werner pins a boutonniere on Keith Arivnwine to honor his work as a photographer in documenting the conditions facing homeless people. Lydia Gans photo

Tags:

Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”