Client Spotlight – Byron

Homeless to Helping Others

We first shared Byron’s story in the fall, celebrating his successful transition from the Soulard Shelter to his own apartment in a senior living center. Byron lived through childhood abuse, began self-medicating with prescription drugs from an early age, and graduated to selling drugs, all before finishing high school.

In 1989 he began a 10-year prison sentence for drug distribution. Once released, it was nearly impossible to find honest employment that would pay a living wage. So, he returned to drug distribution to cover his unmet financial needs.

March marked Byron’s one year anniversary of moving into his own apartment.

“You would not have wanted to know me before, I was not a good person,” said Byron. “My rock bottom came about a month before I came to Soulard Shelter. At that point I was sleeping on the ground and on a bench.”

Byron had spent three years living on the streets before a health emergency sent him to the hospital. He spent a month recovering there and then found a place at the Soulard Shelter.

Eight months and lots of hard work later, Byron was a changed man. He worked odd jobs, was able to save up, and stayed sober. Byron credits his case manager, Daquiti Shabazz, and her support for so much of his transformation.

“Daquiti hooked me up with so much,” said Byron excitedly. “I had zero luck finding a place on my own. She found me my apartment, and while we waited for it to be ready, she helped me figure out where to get my prescriptions. When it was time to move in, Daquiti connected me to Home Sweet Home, and they helped me with furniture,” Byron said. “Daquiti is the best.”

It’s been one year this month since Byron left the shelter, and we were thrilled to catch up with him recently to film a video about his inspiring story. Byron continues an active, healthy lifestyle, and has found a home away from home at his church.

Now ordained, Byron has taken on a leadership role as a deacon! “Peter and Paul helped me, and now, helping others is helping me stay strong,” Byron said. “I feel blessed.”

Byron’s video will debut at our Under One Roof gala on April 20th. Join us in celebrating his success.

Byron poses with his former case manager, Daquiti Shabazz.

A photographer takes a picture of Byron and Daquiti.