David Hamilton is a U.S. Army Vet who saw three tours of duty in Operation Desert Storm; but nothing shook him as much as seeing his daughter Destiny, 11, nearly shot by gang crossfire.
“Both times were very close,” David said, of the two shooting instances that pushed him to make an “emergency move” from their old Roseland neighborhood.
Being unemployed at the time and without enough savings to secure another apartment, David, 56, and Destiny found themselves at Good News Partners’ New Life Interim Housing. New Life is a 36-bed transitional housing facility for homeless single women, women with children, and intact families through the HEARTH Act. New Life operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers comprehensive support services in a communal setting.
“It was a rough start making the adjustment to different rules you’re not used to,” David said of their initial experience. “Not being able to come and go as you please; all the different kids and personalities. I think it was more of an adjustment for her than for me.”
That was this single-father’s story when he first entered New Life in July 2016. Now, however, he is preparing to soon move into the brand new 56th Infantry Apartments in Humboldt Park – apartments built specifically for homeless Veterans and their families.
“From the first day I saw my apartment, I’ve been decorating it in my head,” he said.
His goal of permanent housing is becoming a reality because David was proactive in seeking additional resources from Veterans Affairs, and made the most of his time at New Life by embracing staff members as family.
“I think the most that they’ve done for me was when I got sick, they were there to support me,” David said. “I found out I had cancer while I was here, but God sent the right people to be around me and watch out for my daughter.”
David spent two weeks in the hospital as his daughter temporarily stayed with relatives.
“They kept my spot for me so when I came back I still had someplace to stay,” he said of the New Life staff.
Although he is extremely excited to regain his independence, David admits that he will miss the supportive family he’s gained while at New Life.
“People were here around me and motivated me to get up and do,” he said. “Everybody pulls together to help each other.”
David said he experienced homelessness before about six years ago but overcame it, and used that same tenacity along with the support at New Life to overcome it again.
“I knew I could do it,” he said. “My bad moments pushed me even harder.”
David used his internal grit to share his triumphs as a single father with the single mothers at New Life, and to advocate for other single fathers by even creating a support group at his church.
While he will miss the ongoing support he’s found at New Life, David said, “I’m ready; ready to get it going again.”
Help New Life Interim Housing give more families the fresh start they need by sending your gift of any size. Visit www.goodnewspartners.org to learn more or to donate online.