We first met Raphael and Natasha at the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes. Now, months later, they are housed in a lovely apartment in Bristol. Here is their story:
“When we first met Pathways we were actually living in our van in Middlebury and that was quite hard. We were lucky to be homeless in the summer and not the winter. Each night the cops came because someone would report us for being sneaky or looking strange. I knew the area because I grew up in Middlebury.
There were some nights we would be asleep and they would be waking us up at three in the morning … the officer that kept coming around knew me, knows my family…
This lady at Hope who is a long-time family friend, she knew my mom, she was helping us out with looking for apartments and she told us she could try to get us in with Pathways … we had tried everything else and nothing else worked. So we got in with Pathways in the summer and they helped us get into the John Graham Shelter for a few months while we were looking for an apartment.
J.R. [from Pathways] helped us find this place. The thing that really surprised me was … we were having so much trouble finding apartments and then as soon as he [started working with us] he found an apartment right away. It was the nicest place we had looked at and we filled out the paperwork and two days later they told us we had the apartment.
Pathways has helped us a lot with getting to meetings and finding this apartment. We try to meet with [Pathways] once or twice a week but it’s just really nice to have somebody that can come every week and you get to talk to them and they talk with you.
I’m trying to find a job so that I can take over the rent but it’s nice not to have to worry about that until you find a nice, steady job because you never know if you’re going to be there for three weeks or a few months or what.
If I had to choose my ideal job it would be farm work or woodworking. I’m really good with my hands, I build things and I’ve worked with a company in Brandon and helped them with building tables and chairs … I’ve also lived and worked on a farm my entire life so I am good around animals.”
-Raphael in Bristol