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HOMELESS TO HOUSED: Formerly unsheltered man living on his own one year later

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 6:58 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Last week’s Point In Time Count survey, which tallies the area’s homeless population, helps determine how much federal funding counties receive for programs to help the unsheltered.

13 NEWS met with Terry Hansard at the Point In Time Count in 2021 when he was first moved into the Meadow Acres Inn.

One year later, his circumstances have changed and he credits deciding to ask for help.

Hansard initially told us a minor stroke the year before put him on the streets.

“I used all my sick leave, after that one time I didn’t have no more couldn’t get released to get to work, I had no income I ended up losing my house, car and everything,” he said at the time.

One year later, Terry’s world transformed again.

With the help of a housing voucher, he is an apartment of his own and said he is in better health.

“I’ve been blessed, I haven’t had any problems in a couple of months,” he said.

“I have a family physician now, I have my medication and everything, I was able to get my blood pressure pills and stuff back, so I’m doing a lot better.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is the loyalty from his two-and-a-half-year-old blue pit, Apollo.

“He’s gone through living in tents, staying in motels, it’s just as hard on him, if not harder than it is on us,” he said.

“They don’t understand what’s going on one minute you’re here the next minute you’re here and there’s so much moving around.”

Terry said his human support system has helped him too, which includes his caseworker, Kelly Kendall, an Assertive Outreach Specialist at Valeo Behavioral Health.

“I know we lock horns on stuff but I am a recovering drug addict and a recovering alcoholic,, took a lot of years to admit that, but we’ll get by and they support me in staying clean,” Terry said through tears. "

“If it weren’t for them, there’s no telling where I’d be, my landlady, Kelly, Valeo, they’re the reason I got this, everything I’ve done is because of them.”

“He is very stubborn, but he has a heart of gold and I think that’s one thing you have to look at when it comes to this kind of population,” Kendall said.

“Not everyone is out to get you, he is a really good guy, he’s learned to accept things and grow with that that is a huge part of Valeo and getting services is accepting and saying ‘I need help’.”

Terry hopes people can walk away with a few lessons from his story.

“Anybody can be in my situation I had a good trailer house, good vehicles a good job and one minute it was gone,” he said.

“You never know, don’t look down on us, I just want them to know we’re human just like they are.”

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