“Out with the old, in with the new!”
Billy, December 2019
Billy is a recently housed guest of the Harry Tompson Center. A native New Orleanian, he experienced homelessness for a year and six months before finally getting to move into his own place.
Before becoming housed, Billy spent his nights in his van, parked in the St. Joseph Church parking lot. His vehicle was vandalized twice during this time, but he never let it get him down.
“It didn’t damper me- God found ways to help me replace windows and tires.”
Billy had been working in South Carolina when his company suddenly shut down. Having been incarcerated for a short time, Billy had trouble finding more work. His savings quickly ran out. Eventually, he found his way back to New Orleans, with everything he had left in his van.
Billy remembers the exact date that he first discovered the Rebuild Center- May 7, 2017. He proudly declares the support he received from the staff and volunteers at the Center made it possible for him to ‘maintain stability in my [his] sanity, ego, and pride.”
Even while struggling with homelessness, Billy was determined not to let his difficult situation dictate his mindset. He managed to attend courses even while without a home, trying to further his education. Billy channeled his experiences to be positive until his self-motivation began to reflect on other guests around him. He didn’t give up on his passions, dreams, or journey.
“I’m a writer.”
On November 20, Billy received the keys to his new place.
“I got my knees and thanked God for allowing me to endure.”
Billy wanted to take some time to reflect and profess thanks, and so didn’t leave for his new place until later that evening. While on his way to his new home, he was listening to Christian music loudly on his car radio in celebration. The music was so loud that he didn’t notice the back latch of his car had failed while he was driving. Nearly all of his belongings fell out somewhere along his journey.
After being notified of what at first looked like bad luck by a good Samaritan, Billy was, of course, understandably sad. He came to a beautiful realization. He was still more excited about getting the key to his new home than he was upset over losing his possessions.
“The Holy Spirit spoke to me… It said, ‘What’s more important? Getting the key to your own residence or a few material things you can replace?’. My faith in God allows me to believe that others needed [my stuff] more. I feel like I ‘donated’ my possessions [to those in more need]. That’s when I realized in so many ways God was saying out with old and in with the new.”
Taking this idea to heart, Billy has also taken the initiative to bring donations to the Center whenever he is able. He enjoys giving what he can to help those in the same situation that he was in only a short time ago.
December 3rd was a day designated as the Global phenomenon known as #GivingTuesday, as sponsored by#iGiveCatholic. On this day, Billy brought a brand new bike to donate to the Harry Tompson Center, giving the bike to another guest who was struggling with getting around.
Billy is an example of the beautiful love we get to witness each day at the Harry Tompson Center. His kindness, motivation, and unshakable faith is truly an inspiration.
Want to read more stories of courage from HTC guests? Click here to go to the archive.