In August 2018, Depaul USA opened its first 13 Houses project in Little Rock and welcomed Vincent to his new home. Now, nine months later, we were curious to learn more about him and see how he was doing.
For Vincent, it’s been a long way to get where he is now; a long way to becoming the custodian at Jericho Way; a long way to giving back to the community by helping the poorest of the poor.
He grew up on the west side of Chicago with his mom and five brothers and learned early on how to hustle; how to drink; how to do drugs – all before the age of ten. His life led Vincent down a path of crime and eventually, he was caught and sentenced to five years in prison.
But when he was released, something happened that should turn out to be a stroke of luck: the van meant to pick him up and bring him back to his old neighbourhood didn’t turn up. Instead, he was sent to Little Rock; which led to the Union Rescue Mission; which led to meeting Mandy Davis; which led to becoming the custodian at Jericho Way; and finally into his new home.
And for Vincent, the little house on Heather Lane is exactly that: A home. It’s his kitchen, his living room, his bed, his flower pots. But the best way to understand what it means to Vincent, is by reading his own words:
“I feel alive and more in touch with my life. When I get off the bus and take the 10min walk to Heather Lane, it’s like walking on the clouds. Waving to the people cutting grass and washing their cars. Just living life. Then I realize my home is just around the corner and my heart just dances and I smile inside out. In the shelter and prison […] I’ve seen no hope. [People] standing in line to ask a man for the basic needs for today: soap, tissues, food; like the animals in the dog shelter. I make puppy dog eyes to a man to let him know how needy I am with a deflated chest, broken spirit and the longing to just stop being. But having a home and being able to pay rent, utilities, put food on the table, and wash my own clothes, dishes; is something unexplainable. In prison and in the shelter I got no peace. There is peace at Heather Lane. My chest sticks out and I look like a man when I look in the mirror.”
Vincent calls the day the van didn’t show up “more divine intervention”. We couldn’t agree more.
If you want to get involved in the 13 Houses Campaign and bring a home to more people across the world, visit us on vfhomelessalliance.org to find out more.
This bulletin is based on an article published by the Daily Record as well as writings by Vincent.
It’s been my privilege to be a small part of the volunteer community at Jericho. And this initiative to build homes is just fabulous. And for Tally to be the first is really wonderful.