“St. Patrick Center strengthened me, gave me hope and helped me go in a new direction.”

Johnny grew up with eight sisters. The nine siblings lost their parents within a few years of each other and Johnny says he nearly gave up. In his grief, he turned to alcohol and drugs. “I felt like I let my sisters down, not being able to take care of things.”

Johnny says he could always find work but needed a little help and someone told him about St. Patrick Center. He participated in the Homeless Employment Program, which eventually resulted in employment in the landscaping industry. “I’m practically a master bushman now. I train other crew members and every season, my boss calls me to come back to work.”

Johnny has one wish, though. “I want a place I can call my own.” Even though he’s working nearly full-time, Johnny is homeless. “I won’t give up because St. Patrick Center strengthened me in so many ways.” He continues to stay focused and work with his case manager.

“I’m going to overcome the obstacles in my life. I believe I can do that now. I didn’t think anyone cared but when I got to St. Patrick Center, they turned all of my negatives into positives.”

Update: We’re happy to report that Johnny’s wish came true. He moved in to the St. Louis Stamping Lofts, a 56-unit, low-income housing project with on-site St. Patrick Center case management and employment services. In addition, he was offered to manage the landscaping business where he works.