Delivering food, housing, and health services to people living with chronic illnesses, including HIV and AIDS
Stories

You are here

Heart-to-Heart: Jonah's Story

Below is a story about Jonah, a young man who came to Lifelong in search for help with his struggle with homelessness. Along the way, he received emotional support, words of encouragement, and a new lease on life, thanks to his case manager. Read their story, written in their own words. 

Jonah’s Story

I was new to Seattle when my drug addiction finally brought me to the lowest point possible in my life. Homeless and alone, I felt that I had nowhere to turn. I was to the point where death seemed like a viable option.

Wanting to die but with some fight left in me, my path to recovery began when a case manager at Madison Clinic tried to introduce me to Tony to provide me with shelter. The attempt was not a success. I guess I wasn’t ready. Tony did not give up! He would call to make sure I was ok. Eventually I made it into his office. I was a complete mess. His show of compassion and lack of judgment allowed me to open up and receive his help. It was from that moment we bonded and I began to look at him as a mentor. His past looked like how I was at that moment, and seeing him gave me hope. He was someone relatable. He was someone trustworthy.

Tony and Lifelong did not just give me a hand out, but a hand up. A new lease on life. From shelter to food and emotional support, Lifelong was there for me and still is every step of the way. I am sober, happy and healthy now, and Lifelong and its employees had a major hand in my growth. And for that I will be forever grateful.

Tony’s Story

I met Jonah last spring when he was new to Seattle. When we met he was homeless, living in a car and in the throes of a crystal meth addiction. I offered him a bed in Lifelong’s emergency shelter program. At first he was resistant, however his story resonated with my own personal journey, so I continued to stay in contact with him. Eventually he came in and I was able to talk with him about shelter options and recovery. Jonah was physically and emotionally battered by his addiction, but he knew he wanted help.

In addition to providing shelter and emotional support, I assisted him in connecting with our community partner organizations to help with his addictions. We worked together as a team to find an inpatient treatment facility and provided him a safe, secure space during the process.

Jonah entered a 30-day inpatient program after a few weeks in our emergency shelter program. He shared with me his interest in restaurant work and I suggested that he check out FareStart upon his release from treatment.

I was recently given the honor of being invited to his graduation from FareStart.

During his inpatient treatment and afterward, I watched Jonah truly blossom. He went from the shelter to transitional housing to clean and sober housing. He recently celebrated more than six months clean and sober, plus he’s currently working and making plans to be self-reliant and have his own housing in the next few months.

His story is why I come to work each day.