Willie W. was born in Selma, AL; served his country through Army military service from 1984-1988; and had a fairly normal life until the breakup of his marriage, when he had to file bankruptcy.
Willie believes a lack of understanding about the rules of bankruptcy led to the unfortunate loss of his home and eventual homelessness.
Prior to experiencing homelessness, Willie was, and continues currently to serve as, a Lay Minister in two churches. Both churches offered to help him during his crisis, but to avoid the appearance of partiality or preferential treatment, he declined their help.
During placement with Homes of Light Housing Program, Willie’s most memorable experiences were with other older guys who were clients, and the delivery of services by Homes of Light staff.
“The staff counselors helped with information about accessing services such as food stamps and Marta discounted fares.” Throughout his circumstances “they never looked down on me” Willie regarding how Homes of Light staff treated him.
During his placement and residency at a home on Columbia Drive, Willie recalls that a camaraderie among he and the older guys.
They helped each other, prayed together, and the other guys joined Willie in distributing food weekly to people under bridges, a ministry in which Willie volunteered through Action Ministries long before he himself experienced homelessness.
Willie says “I knew my situation was temporary”, and he encouraged fellow residents to see their situation as a temporary one that they were merely passing through.
Willie obtained permanent housing, after two months, in November 2014. A stable home has enriched Willie’s reunification with his family, and he is enrolled in and expects to graduate seminary school here in Atlanta next summer and become an ordained minister.