“A typical day for me used to be fishing with a friend by the river,” Paul said, sitting in his quaint Elmira apartment. An ideal sounding day until he continued, “that’s where I lived for two and a half years, in the woods by that river. My life was horrible with no bright future in sight. Some days I felt so depressed and hopeless that I thought I would be better off dead.”

Paul used to collect empty bottles to return for cash and go to shelters, the food bank and churches for food. “I didn’t feel comfortable staying in shelters long though. Between needing to make payments and having to keep a closer eye on my stuff, I preferred being in the woods where I could have my peace.”

That was when Lutherwood came into Paul’s life. An outreach worker found him in the woods and brought him to the Cambridge office. “I agreed to the help because I was tired and getting old and it was time to get help. It was bad enough that I was a heavy drinker, but there are a lot of drugs on the streets that I didn’t want to get involved with,” Paul reminisced somberly.

"My life has been completely turned around since finding Lutherwood. They have given me so much more than a safe place to stay." — Paul

After filling out paperwork and working with his outreach workers, Lutherwood found Paul a place that he could afford. “My life has been completely turned around since finding Lutherwood,” Paul smiled. “They have given me so much more than a safe place to stay. They make sure I have food and an income, and my housing worker helped me get furniture for my place and even introduced me to a counsellor that has helped me deal with my past.”

Paul has been in his current apartment for just over a year, where he has also started day programs to meet new people, do fun activities and learn new skills. He says he is even in the process of getting addiction help for his drinking.

“A lot of people pulled together to help me, and I am so grateful,” Paul concluded. “I’m happy to be alive again and I feel like I have purpose in life. I can pass on some of this new knowledge to others so that I can help them. I tell anyone who needs help to contact Lutherwood because that’s what they’re there for. They helped me, and they can help you too.”