A Life-Defining Detour
Growing up, Alan never thought that he would end up on the streets. He joined the Boy Scouts, graduated from high school and went on to earn his associate’s degree in engineering. When he did not get accepted into a four-year engineering program, he joined the Air Force instead.
“That’s been my biggest regret—not finishing my engineering degree,” he shares. Engineering was his dream.
Alan returned from the Air Force with injuries that left him in no state to take care of himself. He moved back into his father’s home, but when his father passed away suddenly, leaving nothing but a vaguely worded will, Alan was evicted from the home by his own sister.
“I wasn’t homeless right away,” he explains. “I was okay for about a year, and then I became homeless for about five months.”
The conditions he faced while living on the streets eventually caused him to contract a foot infection that landed him in the hospital for a week and a half. “After they took care of me, they wouldn’t release me back out onto the streets—they sent me to Buffalo City Mission.”
Alan quickly became acclimated to life at the Mission. He is particularly grateful for the opportunity to return to Erie Community College and complete his degree in electrical technology. “They really support people greatly with their educational desires.”
After he finishes his program, Alan will find a job and permanent housing. He has a second chance to achieve his dream.