Marc is a big man with tattoos. He talks fast and smiles even more. He has intense eyes that have seen things, but there is a light in those eyes – he has never lost hope. His story is a study of setbacks, stumbles, and systemic failure.
He was in the foster care system from a very young age. He bounced around the juvenile criminal justice system and eventually graduated to adult jail. He would get out, have no place to go, and be back on the streets with the same people in the same community.
It was a trap.
“It is fundamental that I have housing,” he said. “When you are out there on the street you have to follow the rules, the code. It’s the only way to stay ‘safe.’ Now that I have been removed from the rules of the street, the laws really, with Compass and this housing, I’ve been able to break free.”
Marc had a solid foundation with his housing and it allowed him to refocus on himself and his goals. One of the ways he focused was taking up boxing.
“When I first went to the boxing club, I didn’t have any money,” Marc said. “I had my necklace and put that down as payment and Manny, the owner, said ‘Nah, we got you. Let’s get started.’ He accepted me for who I was and I haven’t missed a class since I’ve started.”
Having a goal and a focus helped him realize he wanted to reconnect with his family and his faith. He has cut out all distractions in his life keeping it simple and dedicating himself to his ambition.
“Here, at Compass, I have a place where people actually care about me, I have stability,” he said. “I’m rebuilding myself. I’m going to keep my mindset positive and being here at Compass is letting all this happen. Now, I’ve surrounded myself with wise council, and having a place of my own made this all possible.”
Compass Housing Alliance wouldn’t be able to be a place of refuge without the financial support of people just like you.