Stories of Transformation: Robert

Robert endured two serious crises of homelessness in his life, more than 15 years apart. Thanks to caring friends like you, Phoenix Rescue Mission was there for him both times…

You wouldn’t expect someone like Robert to wind up homeless. He worked steadily in construction, was married, had a daughter… life was pretty good. But when his marriage crumbled, Robert knew he needed to leave. Because money was tight and his closest friends lived far away, he wound up on the streets.

Two days later, Robert was struck by a truck and sustained serious injuries, including road rash, a severe head gash and a broken leg. After a significant hospitalization, he still had nowhere to go and went back to the streets. “I didn’t know what to do,” he says. “I was desperate. Then another homeless person told me about Phoenix Rescue Mission.”

Robert spent six months at the Mission, where he received safe shelter, nutritious food, spiritual support and help finding employment. This was back in the year 2000, and while he was here, he and his wife reconciled and Robert moved back home. “The help the Mission gave me renewed my hope and restored my faith,” he says. “It was a blessing during a very hard time.”

Finding Help Through Another Crisis
Life steadied for a number of years, until around 2008, when his wife passed away. Robert did his best to pick up the pieces, continuing to work and raise his daughter, but he faced another crisis in 2016 when the economy weakened and he could not find employment. “I applied everywhere, not just construction jobs,” he says. Despite his best efforts, his modest savings dwindled and eventually, he was evicted.

While his daughter was nearly done with high school and moved in with friends, once again Robert had nowhere to go but the streets.

“The help the Mission gave me renewed my hope and restored my faith. It was a blessing during a very hard time.”

For three years he survived out there, struggling to stay hydrated during some of the hottest summers on record. “I basically roamed, trying to stay out of the sun and find food and safe places to rest.”

In 2018, Phoenix Rescue Mission launched a new program called Glendale Works, which helps people experiencing homelessness begin rebuilding their lives and regaining their dignity through work. Participants complete various day-labor projects that beautify the community, learning good work habits and earning a modest paycheck.

After spending years on the streets, Robert has his own home again — thanks to you!

Our team also helps them secure various IDs and documents necessary to regain housing, like drivers licenses. (We’ve since launched Scottsdale Works and are continuing to explore new opportunities across the Valley.)

Robert was eager to improve his situation, and Glendale Works gave him the tools to succeed. “I started going there and working most days,” Robert says. “They also helped me with vocational training, getting an ID and rebuilding my resume.”

The Mission helped Robert begin working again, an important step on his recovery journey!

During that time, Robert also began meeting with one of our case managers, who helped provide him with resources and guidance, and recommended him for permanent housing. Very soon, Robert received his own apartment!

“When I moved in, I had two backpacks, a couple of blankets and some leftover food. The Mission furnished me with everything I needed to start a new life, right down to the dishes and a couple of pictures for the walls!”

Not only is Robert not going hungry anymore, but with a fridge and freezer, his eating habits have changed and he’s healthier. Today, Robert continues working and his life is radically transformed. He’s deeply grateful for people like you who make it all possible. Thank you for your compassion and for all you do to help meet the needs of neighbors like Robert!

Robert (in black), pictured with the Mission team who helped him get housing: (from L to R) Gabe Priddy (Street Outreach Supervisor), Brian Farretta (Housing Case Manager), and Yvette Syverson (Street Outreach Case Manager).