Today Gregory signed the lease for his new apartment through Housing Forward’s Open Door Housing (ODH) Program. ODH is permanent supportive housing for individuals who are homeless and have a disabling condition. Once housed and no longer having to worry about day-to-day survival, it is widely documented that clients are able to take major steps forward in their lives. 

After being in and out of the shelter system since 2008, and officially homeless since 2015, Gregory has experienced firsthand the ups and downs faced by those experiencing housing instability. Even working as a school bus driver and church custodian, he wasn’t able to find a place to call home until participation in our summer transitional shelter gave him the confidence and motivation to plan for his future. Gregory’s plan includes a permanent address that would allow him to complete the many background checks needed to pursue an Illinois Class A driver’s license and attend truck driving school.

One of the ways Gregory feels Housing Forward made a difference for him was the fact that the staff and volunteers running the shelters really seemed to care and try to get to know him. “Parents bring their kids along and let them interact with us,” he says, “which means a lot when you’re used to sometimes being treated like trash.” Being around positive people in the PADS Shelters and then working with a team from the Emergency Assistance and Housing Programs made Gregory feel ready to take the wheel in driving the next part of his journey forward.