Recent research from the Federal Reserve found that missing more than one paycheck is a one-way ticket to financial hardship for nearly half of the country’s workforce. Many of us are one missed paycheck or financial emergency away from experiencing homelessness ourselves. This was Dillon’s experience.

Dillon is a smart, kind, hardworking young man who loves music. “Music is my best friend,” he says. For fun Dillon plays guitar, dabbles in drums, and he can even play the bagpipes and the didgeridoo! He worked full time but due to unreliable transportation, Dillon was late too many times and was let go. Dillon found a new job as a caretaker for one of his neighbors, but eventually, he was evicted from his apartment because he couldn’t keep up with the rent.

Dillon spent about 7 months living on the streets, hopping between friends’ houses to shower. “I hung around different places and I hated it. I felt dirty, uncomfortable and like I didn’t belong. Like I wasn’t supposed to be there.” Understandably, Dillon went through a period of depression.

Eventually Dillon got connected to the Albuquerque Opportunity Center (AOC) at Heading Home. Dillon said that the AOC gave him a place where he could rest for the night, store his belongings and focus on doing what he needed to do to keep moving forward. He enrolled in school at CNM where he’s currently taking classes and has a job through a Work Study program. Dillon is looking forward to saving up to buy a car so he doesn’t have to rely on the bus schedule anymore.

Dillon’s positivity is striking when you consider all of the negativity he’s experienced in his life. “Being positive and trying to put positivity out into the world played a major role in pulling myself out of my depression.” The Albuquerque Opportunity Center was a safe, supportive place for Dillon to focus on being positive, improving his situation and moving forward. Today, Dillon lives in an affordable studio apartment and really enjoys the freedom and stability that his own housing allows him.

Click here to read more about how Heading Home supports men experiencing homelessness at the Albuquerque Opportunity Center.