Oliver lost touch with his family during his years of homelessness but he recently reconnected with his sister, who he had not seen in years. They made spaghetti – his favorite meal – together in his new apartment. It’s been a long hard road, but with the help of our supporters, Oliver is rebuilding his life.
Raised in Georgetown, Oliver has lived in Central Texas his entire life. He moved to Austin as a young adult to begin his career. He worked in several different fields, but it was a sudden job loss while working at Health & Human Services that turned his world upside down.
Though he had family nearby, they were not able to provide the support he needed to regain stability. He experienced homelessness for the better part of the next 10 years, consistently trying to find work as he could to rebuild his life.
Living in a homeless camp beside Waller Creek, north of downtown Austin, wasn’t easy. “The hot summer days, rain, and cold winter nights sometimes seemed unbearable” he said. He also had to contend with mosquitoes and dangerous water moccasins.
Building a Stronger Life
Determined to build a stronger life, Oliver took a first vital step this year—he applied for help. “I didn’t believe that anything would come of it,” he said. So, he was surprised when someone sought him out where he was living. “It meant a lot that someone cared enough to come to me,” he said with emotion in his voice. But more good things were in store for Oliver.
In just a few weeks—thanks to the generosity of donors — Caritas of Austin helped Oliver end the homelessness he had experienced and move into his own apartment in South Austin, his first home in a decade.
“I woke up after that first night so thankful to have a roof over my head,” he said with real gratitude.
Partnering with his case manager, Oliver found a job as a cook at a restaurant downtown and continues to build his plan for long-term well-being. Oliver no longer feels alone. “Knowing someone’s in my corner makes all the difference.”
Caritas of Austin helped pay for Oliver’s initial rent and utilities until he started work at his new job and regained financial stability. Oliver loves interacting with both coworkers and customers. He said his first stable, full-time job feels good and helps him feel like he’s part of the Austin community again.
One of the things Oliver is most excited about is being able to watch his beloved Dallas Cowboys on television. He’s been a fan since he was young, and now a large Dallas Cowboys banner dons his living room wall.
Helping Oliver settle into his new apartment was the first giant step. While Oliver transitions toward stability, Caritas is also able to help Oliver build well-being — thanks to your support — by providing healthy food, bus passes, help him build a plan for long-term success.
Oliver tells his friends who are still experiencing homelessness not to give up. “There is hope. Hang in there and work hard toward your future.”
He feels confident about his future. Oliver says “Now I’m feeling like I can do this. I’m excited to do it on my own.”