Stories of Hope


“My name is Dreven, I am 26 years old and I’m addicted to meth. I’ve been addicted to it for 2 years. Currently, I have been sober for 2 weeks. I attend the NA meetings here. I arrived in Madison at the beginning of January when a bus driver woke me up and said, “Time to get off this is the last stop.” I had no idea where I was or what happened. I got on a bus from up north because I was extremely high and I thought I was being followed. I was able to get help from a man on the street and he directed me to Porchlight for the evening. The staff here at The Beacon has been so patient and caring. They helped me get my healthcare and that has allowed me to get back onto my medication for schizophrenia. I feel really good and balanced now. I am more aware of what is real. The volunteers here are so amazing and nice. They’re taking their time out to help us, and who knows if they’re struggling at home themselves .”


A few months back we first met Antonio who was experiencing a very difficult time in life with many barriers to overcome. “Work is going good, I have a visit with my kids today, I got a car, and things are looking good. I’m here today on my day off to take care of some things. I’m saving money for a place to live. I got a call today for some open houses for apartments to check out. I just keep pushing and working hard. I graduate on Saturday from my parenting classes that I have been in since January. We will all be attending it together on zoom. I am proof that if you want something bad enough and work at it, you can get there. I took my son to his first day of school and I promised myself that I will be there everyday to get him from school and be a good father. “


Kevin has been at The Beacon a week as of tomorrow. Kevin has bounced around the Midwest since 2013 when he lost his job at Sony here in Madison as a software developer. But this is his first time being homeless on the street. “Having access to the right resources is not always easy or knowing how to navigate all of this.” Kevin stated. He eventually found CCS and they directed him to Porchlight and The Beacon. “I have a few different mental health conditions. When I lost my job in 2013, I lost my insurance, my therapy, and my medicine. I went years being able to work, have my own place, and function in society, but after all of that stopped, I lost everything. I wasn’t aware of badgercare or any help like that back then, so I didn’t know what to do. I began to self-medicate with drugs and eventually found myself too deep in heroin. It took 1 bad situation for me to decide I didn’t want to spend my life in jail, so I decided to get sober. The 8 days taking myself off the heroin is something that I will never forget. The actual physical pain of that is something that I never want to experience again. I have been clean from that for 3 years. My DOC is Katamine and I have been sober from that for 3 months.
The Beacon has been able to connect me with foodshare, badgercare, and 2 bus passes. Having those bus passes are what really helped me get set up. I was able to get around town to take care of some appointments that I needed to and to purchase a 30 day bus pass. The Beacon has also connected me with TSI. I had a great meeting with them last week and I meet with them again on Wednesday. I gave them a copy of my resume and they said that they might have a few possibilities for me. Being able to have access to a computer and a place to charge my cell phone is everything. I am utilizing the laundry today, which is really nice. Everyone likes to have clean clothes. I’m amazed at the staff and volunteers here. They come in each day with a smile and take abuse all day. It’s something that I can’t wrap my head around why they would still treat us so nice after day in and day out being treated so bad. I have contacted all the sober living houses and they are at least two months out. It can be really discouraging being in this situation and seeing so many people not trying, but I get why they don’t. I have met a few friends that really helped me out when it was my 2nd day. I know that they are genuine because I have nothing to give them and they have nothing to give me, so that is beautiful.
I begin my day at 5:55 being woke up with a smoke alarm going off and yelling, “smoke break.” We all line up and wait to get on the bus to come to The Beacon. We arrive at The Beacon at 7:45 to stand in another line. When it is 90 degrees outside and you have your entire life on your back weighing 150lbs, it can be a lot to deal with sometimes. There’s such a stigma if you’re homeless that you’re no longer a person. You’re no longer a human being. It’s dehumanizing. The people that are defeated, I understand that defeat. I don’t know how to fix it, but I get it. If you’re trying hard enough you can help your own situation.”