Randall first connected with Pathways to Housing DC through our Homeless Street Outreach Team in the fall of 2012 while panhandling outside a local coffee shop near DuPont Circle. We came to know him as a mild-mannered and introverted 48-year-old who rarely asked for services or help while living on the streets for more than four years. Randall’s mistrust of others and a well-concealed mental illness kept him isolated and disconnected from receiving services, despite multiple hospitalizations and suicide attempts over the years. In the absence of professional support, he relied heavily on alcohol and other drugs as a means of self-medication and escape from life on the streets. Unsurprisingly, his frequent and public alcohol use resulted in compounding legal issues and an ongoing cycle of jail and homelessness. For Randall, “the voices in my head”, the lack of a stable support system, and no safe place to call home were all barriers to his sobriety and stability.
Today Randall is still surprised and excited by all that has changed in the last six months. Partnered with the Pathways staff, Randall began working to define and achieve some of his goals, including navigating the legal system, managing his schizophrenia and finding a place to call home. In fact, within weeks of identifying an apartment in southeast DC, Randall signed a lease and moved in! Armed with a strong support team at Pathways, he is now clean and sober, has resolved his legal issues, is meeting regularly with a psychiatrist (for the first time in years), and is thriving in his new home. Well on his way to recovery, Randall hopes to one day help others who have struggled with addictions and mental illness. He knows that with the help of his support system the possibilities are unlimited!