Homeless but not Hopeless

Chad Kaeb Profile
Article by Chad Kaeb
Development Director

Most of us have never experienced what it’s like to be homeless. Wondering where we are going to stay tonight; a shelter, under a bridge, with a friend of a friend. A number of the clients we have worked with have had moments of homelessness as life has thrown them a curveball. What happens in these times when their “family” and “friends” can’t or won’t help? This can lead to a feeling of hopelessness! Not having people and resources to help claw your way out of the pit of despair can be a very lonely and discouraging place. I would like to share a former resident’s story:

"First I would like to start off with saying God gives his toughest battles to His toughest soldiers. He will only put you through things cause He knows you can get through them. With that being said, my life has been nothing but a constant battle.

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1995 to my mother, Jacqueline and my biological father Johnny. Johnny didn’t want anything to do with me but God placed my stepfather, Raymond in my life when I was just months old. After a couple years, my mom and stepdad had my siblings Raven, Raymond Jr. and Master Adrian. As a child, life was difficult but my parents made sure we didn’t have to worry too much.

In 2003-2004 my family became homeless. We would stand on the river walk in New Orleans with a sign that said “homeless with 4 kids” and at the end of the day we would have enough money for food and a hotel room. One night in particular I remember being outside past curfew with my siblings in the French Quarter and the police came and took us to the station. After that, we moved in with my older stepsister until we were able to get our own place. After finding our own place, life was okay… normal I guess you could say until August of 2005.

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and my family was forced to leave the city. After all the chaos from the hurricane we were offered a home in South Bend, Indiana. Life was starting to look up again! Not too long after that we ended moving into a different house and months after, it burned down. Then we moved again. After a couple of months, we were placed in foster care due to issues with my parents.

I was first introduced to Gateway Woods when I was sent there as a teenager back in 2010. My mother Jackie passed away unexpectedly in 2012. This was a difficult time in my life adjusting to mom being gone. After graduating high school at Gateway Woods in 2013, I pursued my CNA license and moved back to South Bend. Life continued to have its challenges as my stepdad Raymond passed away this past year.

Long story short, Gateway Woods has been like family to me since I had spent time in the one of the group homes. With my parents both gone, they were the people I could call if I ever needed help or assistance with anything. Without Gateway I don’t know where I would be. When I took custody of my brothers after my parents died, and even before then Gateway Woods helped. If we were low on food, the lights got disconnected, my siblings needed anything or my son; Gateway was and I know is still always there.

They basically give me a sense of security and as long as I was doing what I was supposed to be they were more than willing to help. I’m not perfect by any means but Gateway makes me want to strive to do better. They didn’t just pay for things, they sat down with me to work out a budget and figure out things my parents didn’t get to teach me… I am forever thankful and I love Gateway Woods and everybody who works for or has worked for them!"

Johnese (Former Resident)

They show me what GOD meant when He explains Love.

I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to know and work with such an amazing young lady. Although she has experienced much heartache, she still pushes ahead and perseveres. She has so much potential to impact her world for good. Please pray for her and her family as they press on in life.

You can help impact lives like Johnese’s by giving to the Partnership Assistance Fund this Giving Tuesday. This fund was created to help former residents or current clients of Gateway who have fallen into some financial hardship. It is designed to help plug the gaps but also provide accountability. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to help these individuals and families in crisis. Would you consider partnering with us to provide help and hope to in those in the midst of the storms of life?

Chad is currently the Development Director at Gateway Woods. He has also worked as a Houseparent.