I lost my job in 2005 and then lost my house in 2009. After that, I pretty much lived all over the place for 7 years-a camper, my truck, friends’ couches, or my parents’ basement. For a while, I lived in my truck year-round, through Wisconsin winters and all. I had enough room to lay down in the back to sleep. I had a little ceramic heater that I would run whenever I could afford it. I remember one night it got so cold that the doors froze shut and had to tear all the weather stripping to get out.
I began looking around for help and found CAC. Barb and Jen, the caseworkers at CAC, took me right in. They let me use their address as my mailing address and helped me fill out applications for all types of programs.
In November of 2016, CAC was able to get me into their Emergency Shelter program and put me into a motel. Although the sleep could be restless at times from the noise of the motel, at least I wasn’t waking up freezing. I came to CAC 5 days a week during that time in the motel to check on housing availability and get on waiting lists.
I was at the motel for almost 4 months, until CAC found me an apartment in Oconomowoc in April of 2017. It’s like a mansion compared to the back of my truck! CAC helped me get furniture and some other essentials from Lake Country Caring in Hartland, so I’ve got all I need. I’m happy to be a part of the Oconomowoc community. I go to the YMCA several times a week to exercise and I go to senior lunch at the community center, so it’s a great place.
I’ve come quite a ways. The people at CAC were looking out for me.
The truck pictured when you clicked on Rusty’s story is the one he spent much of his time in when he was homeless.