Montay remembers that day, five years ago when a call in to United Way’s 211 help line brought him to Catholic Charities’ Hope Street shelter.
“I was in a living situation where in order to live there they expected me to do things that weren’t right,” he said. “I’m an honest person, so doing that was out of my character.”
Montay came to Hope Street so he would have a safe place to sleep each night but, he says, you gave him so much more.
“Ultimately, Hope Street did so many different things. It helped me find myself. When I was 18, I didn’t like where I was with life. Hope Street gave me the room to express myself. It helped me find myself. I definitely was looking for a way out of the jungle and having the mentality of ‘kill or be killed’,” he said.
At Hope Street, Montay found confidence in himself, and learned what it felt like when others have confidence in him.
“At Hope Street, they believe in you,” he said.
Not only did he have a place to sleep, but had case managers keeping him accountable. He remembers going to the gym with staff and other clients. He could sweat out his frustrations and the staff related to him on his level.
Over and over, he would hear about the importance of education and jobs. After awhile, it stuck.
Montay is living in a Minneapolis apartment, works for a landscaping company and recently got a job working in the bakery of a large department store. In the future, he said he intends to manage that store, earn a business degree and perhaps open a store of his own.
“If you just keep your balance, you gonna be alright,” he said. “I would never allow myself to be homeless again.”