A New Road Home

July 31, 2020
“I can’t read or write because I was neglected as a kid,” Butch said. I cooked in restaurants, but I couldn’t read the orders. I would try to sound them out but often made the wrong order, so I’d end up getting fired.”

When Butch arrived at New Life Center, he’d come north fromTexas, hoping to land a job on the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota.

Before that, his life story read like a script from a nightmare.

When he was very young, Butch’s parents gave him alcohol to make him sleep, and as he got older, they abused him. Desperate at the age of 14, Butch set off on his own. He was in and out of shelters and education wasn’t exactly a priority. When he could scrape the money together, he spent it on drugs and alcohol.

For more than 26 years, the cycle has repeated itself: get a job, use drugs and alcohol, get fired, and find another homeless shelter. In North Dakota, Butch once again found himself out of work, hungry and cold.

Because of your partnership, New Life Center was open for him to find a safe harbor.

During his first 30 days, what we call the “safe harbor”period, we made sure Butch’s basic, immediate needs were met. He’s now in our Passport program, which offers deeper, more comprehensive services.

With the guidance of a case manager, Butch is addressing issues that led to his homelessness and learning skills he needs to navigate into a more stable situation, like regaining his driver’s license, improving his reading and writing, and connecting with addiction treatment programs. Butch credits New Life Center with keeping him out of jail because he doesn’t need to steal food or panhandle, and the no drugs/alcohol policy has helped him stay clean.

“This place and the people here are giving me another chance to make a better life,” he said. “I just want to get a job and move on from staying in shelters. I just want to have my own home to go to.

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