How losing a job left Keith on the streets

Nowhere to go but the streets for Christmas

Words of accusation cut like a knife, Keith remembers. Not only because they weren’t true, but because they were being fired at him by family members who should have known better.

Yes, Keith was homeless. But he was on the streets because the Minneapolis hotel where he had been working suddenly closed down, and he couldn’t find another job. At a time when Keith needed family most — during the Christmas holidays — his relatives had emotionally abandoned him.

Joblessness Often Leads to Homelessness

“It made me want to go back to the streets,” he says. At least there, he felt, people accepted him for what he was — a kind, caring person who had simply fallen on hard times.

Four years earlier, Keith had quit his job to become a full-time caregiver to his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer. But by the time his mother passed away and he was ready to return to his old job, there was no job to return to.

He ended up sleeping in a stairwell in a parking lot along John Ireland Boulevard…

Keith Ended Up on the Streets

Like many who suddenly find themselves homeless, Keith quickly learned how to adapt — even though he was scared, anxious, depressed — feelings that were heightened because he was dumped on the streets right in the middle of the holidays.

Scrambling To Find Shelter

“If you walk the skyways, they ticket you for loitering,” he said. That’s how he ended up sleeping in a stairwell in a parking lot along John Ireland Boulevard, two blocks north of University Avenue.

Sure, it was cold, he vividly remembers, partly because the doors never shut all the way. But at least he was out of the snow flurries and the sleet. A few times, he even found a secluded spot at the top of the stairway, where heat rises.

Then security found him late one night and kicked him out, forcing him to scramble to find other shelter.

Things Became Brighter

Whether it was by chance, or God’s divine appointment, he ended up sleeping under the bridge at Kellogg and Wabasha — just a stone’s throw away from the Union Gospel Mission.
“There were a few people I knew sleeping there, so I felt safe,” he recalls.

That’s how Keith ended up here, and discovered that God loved him. Unconditionally. “Once I got closer to God, things became brighter,” he says.

The Mission Brought Me Back to God

Now he is receiving education and career development services, which he’s confident will eventually help him land another job.

“I’m content now,” he says. “If I were to die today, I know I’d be home with the Lord. The Mission brought me back to God and gave me hope.”

This year, thousands of homeless men (and women) just like Keith will come to the Mission in search of a hot meal, a warm bed and hope. And many will find all three, thanks to your generous support!

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