Twenty years ago, in my country, some delinquents assaulted me and shot me in my spinal cord, relegating me to a wheelchair, and four years ago I began to suffer attacks against my physical integrity due to my political ideals. I was the victim of different forms of violence, including threatening phone calls and an assassination attempt, which obligated me to move to the U.S. for protection, leaving my family, my work and my future behind.
I arrived in the USA in the beginning of 2009, and toward the end of that year I received protection from the U.S. government. I felt happy because I could remain in a safe country. However, my situation as a disabled person and not having family here relegated me to a life in the shelter system, including Barbara McInnis House and other public housing programs. I became homeless.
It was difficult for me to reclaim my life while I was living in shelters. Not having a place to call home and wearing shabby clothes deteriorated my health and I spent many months between hospitals and shelters. In such a situation, no one can think about getting a job and an education, and even less about total integration into community life.
I’ve lived in a low-income apartment in Jamaica Plain these past nine months. When I moved into permanent housing, the majority of my health problems immediately resolved themselves. Since I moved, I haven’t once visited the emergency room. I’m living in my first handicapped-accessible apartment, which means that I have access to my kitchen and bathroom, and in addition I can come and go as I please. Now I can finally say that my life is changing for the better. I study in the mornings and at night I am making a business plan (I want to become a business owner), and I can reunite with my wife and daughter. This is all thanks to low-income housing. I believe that this program is fundamental for people like me who have lost everything, and it gives us the opportunity to rebuild our lives.
I think that all human beings should have the same opportunities that I had. For this reason I support the 461 Walnut Ave. project (“Homeless care project is back in court,” March 2). Projects like these are so important in our society. I invite the community to support the construction of low-income housing. We should contribute or risk inviting social inequality. Not all human beings have the same opportunities for building a better life.