CLIENT SUCCESS: Brian
Brian learned he was positive in 1990, at the age of 22. Brian says that learning he was positive caused “a devastating spiral effect” in his life. His life became a roller coaster careening between periods of homelessness and stability. He could rapidly go from working at a good job in customer service, to using drugs and living on the streets. Prior to coming to Project New Hope, Brian had been homeless several times, been jailed, had gone through four rehab programs, and was close to death on several occasions. He encountered 35 different institutions as a result of his drug and alcohol use.
Brian’s life changed when he entered a local rehab program that focused on both his HIV status and his substance abuse. The program referred Brian to Project New Hope, and he spent several months living in our Benton-Dallas House in Lawndale while working on his sobriety. At the same time, he enrolled in Project New Hope’s computer training class. After a stint in an SRO (single-room occupancy unit), Brian was able to move into a Project New Hope apartment in San Pedro.
“My jaw just dropped when I saw it,” he said. “The SRO was in the heart of Skid Row. It was a room with a sink. There was a shared kitchen, which meant that I ate a lot of meals out.” Brian’s new place is a full one-bedroom apartment, and he loves its eleven windows and its kitchen. Since moving in, Brian said he has gained weight and his health has improved significantly, in large part because he can cook nutritionally. He says he now looks forward to seeing his doctor, because he keeps getting good news about his health.
Brian recently celebrated one year of sobriety. He credits the support he has received, particularly from fellow clients, in his success so far. “A lot of people at PNH have the same issues – with HIV and substance abuse – and the clients support each other,” Brian says. Brian is currently enrolled at Los Angeles Community College, and plans to return to work in a customer relation’s position.