Before my arrest and incarceration I was a very self-sufficient person. I’d rarely ever needed to rely on anyone for things like transportation or money to pay my bills. I had a profession and some wonderful project and hobbies that kept me busy. As a people person I was always surrounded by a variety of fun, interesting, and creative folks. I felt appreciated. I belonged. I was respected and valued. I’d established a solid reputation.
My crime and the stigma attached quickly put an end to all that. I believed my wife would weather 5+ years without me being there, but she couldn’t. My plan had relied totally on her locating a place we could both live upon my release. I was left to figure it out on my own.
Anyone who has been incarcerated – especially as an SO – knows how hard it is to get things done outside. Thank God a few true friends (and family) did make the effort. They understood my fear and frustration – Homelessness was a looming nightmare.
There had to be someplace I could go to live and get on my feet. It was unthinkable that with all I had to offer as a healthy, intelligent, passionate human being, nobody was willing to extend a hand. How could something this crazy really be happening here? In supposedly the greatest nation on Earth! But it was real.
About 10 months before my release date, I received some information about Restoration Destination. It looked horrible – some virtual “leper colony” way out in the boonies. There HAD to be another option. I was certain that in person, face-to-face, I could convince a landlord to rent to me. They would meet me, ask a few questions, get my story, get a feel for who I am, and rent me a home.
But that didn’t happen. Nobody was going to rent to an SO – especially one fresh out of prison, sight unseen. Period.
I contacted Restoration Destination and received an application. It was surprisingly well put together – whoever designed it seemed actually concerned about my individual circumstances. I completed and mailed it in. Long story short, I spent my first night out of incarceration at Restoration Destination.
The people I met were great. They cared. They put themselves out to assist me. Not only because they’d been there themselves, but because, like me, they knew the injustice of it all. They wanted to be there the ease the pain of others following behind them. I was highly grateful for the blessing of Restoration Destination and am myself strongly committed to helping others who find themselves overwhelmed by the fallout from their crime.
Everyone who genuinely desires a second chance is deserving of one. We all make mistakes. The worth of a person is displayed in how they respond to those mistakes.
I proudly acknowledge Restoration Destination for the opportunity they offered me to show my worth.