Before connecting with Pathways to Housing DC, Bo had spent more than four and a half years living on a park bench in downtown Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Laos, Bo was forced to flee his home country in the 1970s because of warfare and violence. He spent several years living in a refugee camp in Thailand before immigrating to the United States in the 1980s, where he found housing and a stable job in Washington, D.C. After years of working and living in his own apartment, Bo was laid off from his job. Unable to pay his rent, Bo was soon evicted from his apartment. His limited ability to communicate in English, and the absence of any living family or social supports, left Bo alone and on the streets. Having spent almost half a decade without a place to call his own, Bo had come to believe that his life would never change – until he met Stephanie from our Homeless Street Outreach Team, sponsored by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District.

That was a little over a year ago. Bo met Stephanie in the park where he spent his days and nights. Slowly, they got to know each other, and despite the language barrier, they learned how to communicate through hard work, patience and laughter. Early in their conversations, Bo talked about wanting to move off of the streets. Despite wanting this change for himself, he had a lot of anxiety about moving to a new, unfamiliar community and living on his own. Stephanie stood by his side, and together they identified a building for seniors. They visited several times so Bo could become more comfortable and meet the staff and other tenants. They also toured the library across the street and sampled the lunch menu at a neighborhood deli. Soon after, Bo shared with Stephanie the exciting news that he finally felt ready to move into a place of his own.

Just a few weeks ago, Bo moved into his new apartment. After helping to make Bo’s bed, Stephanie turned to him to ask what he thought about his new surroundings. The sight of Bo removing his coat – which had served as both his shelter and security while on the streets – and hanging it up in the closet gave her the best answer: Bo was finally home.