Timothy has been homeless for over 35 years. This changed on June 25th when JCOC’s housing support specialists helped him move into a 1-bedroom apartment! Besides a few unstable housing experiences in his life, this is Timothy’s very first place of his own. Exciting as it may be, it is a huge adjustment for the 51-years-old.
Originally, from Philadelphia, Timothy remembers coming to Virginia Beach for the first time at 18-years-old. Two unspeakable years had passed since his parents abandoned their teenage son. Left to fend for himself, Timothy survived day to day, having already dropped out of school while in 9th grade. He sometimes found refuge in a homeless shelter even though the minimum age was 18. Grateful, he still considers the man who allowed him to stay family.
Eventually, Timothy wanted to see something different and came to Virginia Beach. Fresh off the bus, he followed the crowd to see where other hungry individuals were eating. He often snuck inside hotels to take showers and panhandled for basic needs. Shielded from the weather, he laid down to sleep behind the boardwalk’s old cement steps that went down onto the beach. Some nights, he spent at the old Union Mission in Norfolk, or Winter Shelter.
JCOC’s Executive Director Todd Walker’s first memory of Timothy was during Winter Shelter years ago. He kept encouraging the hopeless man to see that his “temporary situation could lead to a permanent solution.” Timothy’s outlook did become more positive.
Faith has kept him going. Over the years, he has made wooden furniture in factories, had industrial cleaning jobs, installed windows, and worked in restaurants. “I’m a clean freak”, he exclaimed!
On April 15, 2021, Timothy moved into JCOC’s Emergency Housing (shelter) at the Housing Resource Center. He had recently returned to Virginia Beach after going to back to Philadelphia in 2018. Arthritis and degenerative disk disease had forced him to begin walking with a cane. He is 100 percent disabled, receiving disability benefits. “It’s time. My body is getting tired of sleeping on the cement,” he shared.
Timothy remembers helping JCOC’s late co-founder Dick Powell in the late 1980’s set up chairs and tables at the old Fire Escape. This one weekly meal for hungry individuals at the oceanfront turned into launching our Virginia Beach Blvd. campus in 1990, to now celebrating JCOC’s 35th Anniversary this year!
One month has passed since Timothy moved into his own apartment. He unpacked the Welcome Home Basket filled with cleaning supplies, linens, towels and kitchen items. He is getting used to using a front door key, sleeping on a mattress, and enjoying his overstuffed couch. Living nearby, he is always a welcome guest at our Community Dinner and Food Pantry. A self-proclaimed organizer, Timothy looks forward to spending his time volunteering and helping others. We look forward to seeing the amazing things he has yet to do!