August has three sisters and one brother. He was born in Indianapolis
and has lived in Dallas and South Carolina.
He was working in a warehouse in South Carolina. There was a conflict
between management and the clients and rumors were going around about
layoffs. One day he came to work and everyone was packing up. 700 people
had been given pink slips. He had to leave his home three weeks later
when his money ran out. He contacted the United Way in Columbia and was
referred to the Oliver gospel Rescue Mission.
The shelter had strict rules about checking in and being in by curfew.
He missed curfew one night while out job hunting and was not allowed into
the shelter. People harassed him that night with rocks and sticks. Police
stopped him to ask where he was from and why he was there. Teenagers taunted
him and he was nearly hit by a two by four.
The next morning he talked to the executive director of the shelter about
what happened. He was told the rules couldn't be changed and he had to
cut his job-hunting time down. He spent several months in South Carolina,
while in Greenville he heard about the services in the DC area.
In September 1998 he decided to go to Washington. When he walked out
of the Greyhound Station he got strange looks from people when asking
directions that left a lasting impression.
He moved into a shelter where he was only allowed to stay for ninety
days. He moved to two other shelters before moving into one that allowed
a one-year stay. Within six months he got out of the shelter by selling
a street paper based in Chicago called Street Wise. He became a vendor
and earned enough to get a place of his own and found another job.
He now lives in Baltimore and owns his own business. He volunteers with
NCH and Street Sense.
A typical day was spent hanging out in the library or drop-in center
where he could watch TV and wash clothes.
Five years from now he hopes to have broadened his business and become
Good management makes a good shelter. Most are not equipped to deal with
people. Differences between the clientele lead to disputes and friction.
A lack of affordable housing mental health issues, domestic abuse and
substance abuse are causes of homelessness.
Using the available resources and want adds and being self motivated.