Step by step, Toby is working his way up and out of the system. He’s been on the streets, he’s couch hopped, slept on floors and moved from the first floor shelter to a sixth floor home sweet home room at Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground Minneapolis.
“It’s nice, it’s quiet. I’ve been eating good. I can do my own cooking and make fried chicken and cabbage. Higher Ground has given me opportunities,” Toby said.
As someone who slept on the floor in Higher Ground’s predecessor, Secure Waiting, he’s been paying attention to what is rising up across the river at Higher Ground Saint Paul. It’s made a world of difference for him, and he knows it will work for those in Saint Paul.
“When people in Saint Paul move into the new building—it will make them happy and give them inspiration and encouragement to do better in life. It’s an opportunity to come off the street and live decent for a change.”
While the 44-year-old is happy and proud he was able to transition from shelter to pay for stay to a housing floor, he’s still working toward independence.
“Catholic Charities brought me in off the street and helped me get myself back on track. They’re helping me build up my rental history, so I can transition to a one bedroom apartment,” he said. “I hope to be living in my own apartment and be financially stable soon.”
While Toby is limited by a disability, he is working to find a job—likely driving a forklift in a warehouse—so he can make the next step on his journey.
“That would be the American dream for me, to stay in my own apartment and have a job where I can pay my own bills. That’s what everyone wants,” he said.
Asked what that apartment will look like, Toby smiles and his reply is quick, as if it’s memorized in his mind.
“I’ll have a leather living room set, a king size bed, a dining room table and, hopefully, a patio so I can barbeque. I want my home to be comfortable and relaxed.”