Formerly Unsheltered Homeless Man and Dog Transition to Studio Apartment Living

When Mike moved from Waterbury to Milford, he didn't have a place to live. He stayed with friends, but spent most of his time living unsheltered behind the Devon Hotel or sleeping in the gazebo on the Green and then moving into a structure in the woods behind Lowe's.

With a history of homelessness, Mike was someone who Beth-El Center has been in touch with for years. Our Outreach and Engagement case manager Liz Zeilik who supports those in our community who are unhoused had been in touch with Mike to provide assistance. "I've know Liz for years and she's really helped me along the way," according to Mike.

Ready to overcome his alcohol dependency and committed to improving his health, last winter Mike made the move from living unsheltered to a room in Beth-El's No Freeze Shelter at Motel 6. For six months he resided there while working with his case and housing managers at the Center to find housing.

"Liz guided me on how to find an apartment, where to look for rental listings and how to apply, "says Mike. "The Beth-El team also connected me with so many resources from clothing to mental health support."

With Beth-El Center's assistance, Mike was matched with Permanent Support Housing plus case management services. In Connecticut, the Supportive Housing model reduces homelessness among those with mental illness or substance use disorder. Through this program, Mike receives a monthly rental subsidy along with case management services to help him manage his life and maintain his tenancy.

"Mike's story is one of resiliency and unconditional love," says Jenn Paradis, Beth-El's Executive Director. "The bond that he has with his service animal is so heartwarming and it is very clear that was the motivation he used to find a place to call home. We are proud of Mike and happy to have assisted him in all the ways he needed to accomplish his goals."

Mike and his emotional support dog Prince, who he says is one of the reasons for his survival, now live in a studio apartment in New Haven.

"Beth El has many resources to offer but you have to be willing to do your part," says Mike. I can't put into words how much they helped me."

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