"These incredible stories are the reasons we go to work everyday."
Family Support Program Team leader
"I often tell my daughter, 'If you hang around people who do what you don’t do, you’ll eventually start doing it.' I started hanging out with druggies…and I became one.”
Lamar & Jazmen
“It started with my move to California when I was 29. I had a job, a wife and was paying my bills. Life was good. But eventually my marriage broke up and I developed a serious addiction. I realized I’d be dead or in jail if I didn’t leave California.
“When I returned to Chicago, I was 37 and had nothing but a big old addiction habit. I lived on the streets, in shelters or cheap motels. When you’re an addict and alone, you wonder what your purpose is. One major factor that turned me around was when I got my daughter Jazmen. She made me realize what my purpose was.
“While living in an SRO, I got a call from DCFS saying that I had to take Jazmen and provide her with a stable home. The SRO wouldn’t take me and my daughter, so I had to find a place to live. WIth the help of a friend, I found Renaissance and got access to a two bedroom apartment along with services to help Jazmen and me. Renaissance Social Services gave me resources, an apartment and services. And I was in a place to accept them.
“I’ve been in my present apartment for 4 years and sober for 8 years. I just want to stay put. Today, I’m trying to give Jazmen a stable, loving home.”
In the early 1990s, Mark lost his job and found himself thrust into homelessness. Suffering from undiagnosed depression and anxiety, Mark went from shelter to shelter to Single Room Occupancy (SRO) until he finally found his way to Renaissance Social Services.
“I can’t say enough about the case managers at RSSI,” says Mark. “They’ve given me support when I needed it and helped me manage my depression and anxiety. On the streets you can’t stay compliant with your medicines, but here, in my own home, I can.” With treatment and housing, Mark has even been able to reconnect with family, reestablishing a relationship with his sister. “It’s like night and day.”