Bouncing Back from Homelessness
“Volunteers of America has been a light for me and I will pay that amazing gift forward as I volunteer to counsel the homeless.”Craig Swan
Craig Swain had it all. He was living a successful white-collar life, thanks to a genius for all things computers and the technology they entailed. It was a gift that Craig turned into a career, along with his natural fit for the corporate world. Well liked, polite and a master at his craft, good paying jobs were easy to find. He had a nice home, a family. It was perfect.
But it all changed in one day when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Life as he knew it came to a screeching halt. They went through all the medical steps. They did what the doctors told them to do. But it wasn’t enough. Her death was a blow he was completely unprepared for; he lost not just a wife, but his best friend. It was a loss he simply could not accept.
Craig ran from the loss and the misery it caused by turning to alcohol. It became an addiction that numbed his pain and he drank endlessly. Slowly, everything around him began to vanish. His job, his car, his house, his health and even his children. Craig was alone, using the last of his money to buy more alcohol. He was soon sleeping on the streets or wherever he could lay down with his latest bottle. Nothing mattered.
Then, one day, while getting food, a bath and clean clothing at a local Christian shelter, something pierced the darkness; he came to his senses and told the shelter staff that he truly needed help. That was in February 2018. Soon he was introduced to a case manager in the Permanent Supportive Housing department at Volunteers of America in Conroe, Texas. By March he had an apartment, furniture and the necessary household goods. Craig said he “believed in the Lord” and he believed his prayers had been answered in a fast and dramatic way.
Craig was now forced to pay attention to the serious health issues resulting from years of depression and alcohol abuse. He stayed the course and began to see improvement. Meanwhile, he remained connected to VOA and faithfully attended Life Skills classes to learn new ways of coping. Eventually, he and his daughter were reunited. Today, Craig lives in Nebraska with his daughter and has become someone bringing positive life change to others.
“The PSH housing program allowed me the opportunity to get off the streets,” Craig said. “It’s no small thing to have a roof over your head, running water and your own bed to sleep in. These are things I will never again take for granted. God bless Volunteers of America and all the staff, especially my case manager Tim Lloyd. He helped change my life.”
In offering his thanks to VOA, Craig added one more thing. He quoted Matthew 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
“Volunteers of America has been that light for me and I will pay that amazing gift forward as I volunteer to counsel the homeless in Nebraska where I now reside with my beautiful daughter.”