“There were so many people there just to make sure we were fed every day. It made me ashamed that when I had more, I didn’t give more.”
For years, Dennis was a workaholic. While holding down a full-time sales job, he started a photography business and worked weekends as well. He worked so much that it cost him his marriage. “I was just worshipping the dollar, if you will,” he says. “I was addicted to the money so I worked every day. After a couple of years of that, my marriage fell apart.”
Dennis never imagined he would end up homeless.
“I have always worked. I am very professional person,” he says.
“I got laid off from my sales job. I just had my photography and unemployment to fall back on. I didn’t have the paycheck to get an apartment.”
Dennis and his seven year old daughter stayed with friends while they tried to get back on their feet, but when they wore out their welcome, Dennis realized a cold, harsh truth: he and his daughter were homeless.
Thankfully, a friend told them about Union Station Homeless Services. When they came to our Family Center, Dennis and his daughter received a warm meal and safe shelter. But beyond that, Dennis recalls how the staff provided support and taught him how to be a father.
“I was doing more providing than parenting,” he says. “I didn’t know much about raising her before coming to the Family Center.”
The Family Center was very different than Dennis imagined.
“At first it was traumatic,” he says. “I’d never been in a homeless shelter before. You have all these visions of people talking to themselves at shelters — you just know what you’ve seen on TV. I was surprised that the Family Center was more like a village – a real community of support.”
He was overwhelmed by the support he received. “I saw all of these people helping us every day – the staff and the volunteers. There were so many people there just to make sure we were fed every day. It made me ashamed that when I had more, I didn’t give more.”
In addition to the support he found at the Family Center, our Sources career development program helped Dennis find employment again. “The Sources program opened my eyes to some other jobs I would be good at and some of the qualities I had. Sources helped me put together a really good resume that I believe helped me land that job.”
Now remarried and working full time, Dennis is thriving. He says he’ll never forget the help he received when he needed it most. “It was incredibly humbling,” he says. “It changed my perspective: we should be held accountable for one another in society.”