From RISE program director Mary Crandall.
John came in to RISE homeless, broken and needing help. Here is his story:
John was born in Dubuque and lived there until he was 12; this is when he was sent to a boy’s group home in Cedar Rapids. John graduated from high school in three years but got into criminal activity and was sent to prison for 7 years. Upon release from prison, he met a girl, she became pregnant, so John worked two jobs to support his family. His wife left him and the kids, so John was left to raise five kids all alone. All his children have grown, have jobs and live independently and are successful – raising families of their own.
One day he was robbed by kids which put John in the hospital for a week. When he returned to his apartment, the windows had been broken. Things began to spiral from there. He lost his job, couldn’t pay for the windows, couldn’t afford another apartment, so he started to drink. He now lives in a tent under a bridge in CR. He spent more time in jail and most recently in the Linn Co jail. I visited with him there so when he got out, he came to RISE for assistance. I met him at the New Bo Bike Collective to get a bike. (New Bo bike collective is a wonderful non-profit helping other non-profits). John fell on his way back to his tent – with his new bike – and fractured his spine and neck which prevents him from getting a job.
The shelters have no room, but the overflow shelter will open Saturday, and then John will get some relief from the weather and the dangers that homeless people face every day and night.
John is cheerful and willing to help anyone who come in to RISE. He is optimistic about his future and RISE is there to help him.