Herman, 62, had been a stable adult for most of his life, enlisting in the army, then getting a series of jobs in the aerospace industry, eventually landing a coveted role as an aircraft mechanic for United Airlines.
Then, Herman’s mother got sick and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so he opted to take a leave of absence to assist with her hospice care. Around the same time, his father had a massive heart attack, and after several months in the intensive care unit, he was released, only to suffer a fatal pulmonary embolism in transit to his convalescent home.
Herman struggled with his father’s sudden death and his mother’s rapid deterioration, so he began using methamphetamines to ensure he would be awake to say his final goodbyes when his mother passed. By the time that day came eight months later, he was addicted.
Eventually, he lost his job, and his house went into foreclosure, leaving him unhoused.
He remained unhoused for nearly three years, sleeping in parks or his car, and occasionally couch surfing at friends’ houses. During this time, he also became highly suicidal, always looking for a way out. After an incident with the police, he was placed on a 72-hour 5150 hold, which works to stabilize adults who are experiencing a mental health crisis in a psychiatric hospital setting. He was subsequently sent to a mandatory rehabilitation program, and eventually linked to Pacific Clinics’ Full-Service Partnerships program, as well as the Housing program, which seeks to provide stable housing, a critical component in the recovery and wellness process.
Once there, Herman moved into a brand new, low-income housing complex with other veterans, where he continues to receive integrated counseling and treatment services for his depression, anxiety and insomnia. In addition, he receives in-home supportive services, including assistance with social security payments, hot meals, prescription management and much more.
Herman says, “Everybody treats you like you’re a part of the family. I’m saying this from the bottom of my heart: I’m so grateful.”
Herman has now been clean for two years and loves spending time with his children and grandchildren. Though he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, he remains optimistic and is determined to leave a positive legacy.
Learn more about Herman’s story and see what he is up to now: