For much of his life, Nick could not find stability. He lived in more than a dozen different cities, overcame obstacles, and experienced homelessness and drug addiction.
All he needed was someone to give him a helping hand – and he found it with Community Human Services (CHS).
CHS is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that helps adults in Allegheny County who are homeless or unstably housed secure stable, affordable housing and other resources. UPMC is proud to partner with CHS in its mission to help people in our communities.
Nick, 42, had a difficult upbringing and first experienced housing instability as a teenager. By his mid-30s, he was living on the streets. He became connected with CHS about five years ago, during an extended stay in a UPMC hospital due to complications from drug addiction.
“At the time, I was homeless and I had nowhere to go,” he says. “It kind of saved my life because it was the start of me getting off the street and getting into treatment and ultimately getting a stable place to live.”
Nick found an apartment that he liked, and CHS helped him get a place there. It was the first time he’d had an apartment in his name, and that meant a lot to him.
“For me, it’s perfect,” he says. “It’s got everything I need.”
The impact of having his own place to call home has had more than just a symbolic impact on Nick’s life. Having a stable living environment helped him get into recovery. He’s been clean now for several years, and he says “it feels great.”
“I had a few serious problems (before),” he says. “One being drug addiction, and the other was I had nowhere to live. I always had felt like if I could get in, find a place to live, I would be better off.”
After previously working labor-intensive jobs, Nick began taking classes in software development. He’s made the dean’s list three consecutive semesters. He dreams of one day working from his computer in a warm climate.
It wouldn’t have been possible with the help he got from CHS, he believes.
“Had I not had a hand up, I don't even know if I'd be alive, to be honest,” Nick says. “Getting this apartment literally changed my life.”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means extending a hand to your neighbor.
Learn more about how Community Human Services (CHS) helps individuals in our community connect with residential support and other critical resources.
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