By David McCane
I became homeless back in 2004-5. Been homeless for 13 years, 4 months, 3 weeks until last year when I got my place. I was on the streets in Mansfield too. I left here for about a year and three months but I realized I needed help. I got out of jail, came back here, got together with Alphonse who helped me get connected with Greater Cincinnati Behavioral (GCB) to work with caseworkers and get housing. He told me I had to give 110% and then the caseworkers would give 110%, so I did. I did volunteer work and I love it. My caseworkers got me on Social Security Income. They set up appointments with me, help me set goals, and they’re really there for me. They’ve been a lot better than other places. I finally found people who listen to me and help me with my problems. They make sure I stay out of trouble. GCB really works with me. They helped me get an apartment. When I had an apartment, I gave it up to my friends who had kids because they needed somewhere to live. I didn’t mind being on the streets. The caseworkers helped me stay on the right path. They helped me get into college and I’m almost there.
Daulton King helped me out when I needed someone to talk to about apartment situations, or just what was on my mind. He gave me a lot of good advice and told me to keep my head up and stay strong. He’s the one who helped me get into Streetvibes in the first place.
I’m going to Cincinnati State for culinary arts and I’m working on getting my license and a car. I’m starting this semester and just got my uniform. On the 7th, I’ll get a set of knives to complete the chef’s uniform. I’d really like to do cooking and baking if possible. I have my own recipes and have my own signature dishes. A friend of mine let me stay with him until he got kicked out and I used to cook for him. I did a lot of experiments with steak and pork and that’s when I realized how much I liked it. I got praise from a pastor I knew up there. I’m trying to come up with new recipes with chicken right now. I like to use different ingredients that you don’t expect, like cinnamon and garlic Crisco together. I also like doing heritage cooking since I am part Irish, German, Scottish, and Cherokee. I like to mix them all together, like a main dish from Irish cooking and a side dish from Native American cooking. Cooking wasn’t my only option, but Cinci State doesn’t have a Masonair program for construction. I am somewhat qualified in masonry, but I need to finish scaffolding. I’d like to be a fully certified mason as well. I also do landscaping and I’m a masseuse.
If it wasn’t for the people at the Homeless Coalition—including the people at Streetvibes—I would still be on the streets and I wouldn’t be going to college. I’ve had my place for a year and one month and I plan to keep it. The PATH team really worked with me and I got into XL, which pays half of my rent. The same landlord has a two-bedroom place in Price Hill, which would be good. I’ve been trying to tell other people that they should also try to get housing here but you have to give 110%.