Tyler moved into his CASA apartment in April 2018, when he was 27 years old. His struggles with mental illness as well as a muscular disorder and chronic pain that makes it hard for him to get around had made it difficult for him to maintain stable housing. “Before CASA I stayed here, there, and everywhere,” he said.
He relied on friends because the shelter he tried to access told him he was “too disabled” to participate in their program. Tyler was connected to supportive services through Alliance Health, which partnered with CASA to purchase the Maplewood and Underwood Apartments in 2017.
“Alliance has been amazing,” Tyler said. “They got me prepared and told me what I needed to do” to get ready to have an apartment in his name for the first time. “They made things so much less stressful.”
CASA’s maintenance team installed handicap rails around the apartment so Tyler doesn’t worry about falling. Having a place to live means feeling safe in more ways than one, Tyler said. “When you’re homeless, you don’t feel adequate in life. The streets are a very cold place.” Having an apartment changes things: “You have a safety net. You have a place to come home to and be safe. You have your own stuff. A whole apartment! You can just be you.”
Tyler says his favorite spot in his apartment is lying in his bedroom, where he can truly relax. But he spends a lot of time in his kitchen. “I love love love love to cook, especially Italian!” he laughs. His signature dish is chicken alfredo. To the people he knows who are still without a place to live, he says, “Have courage within yourself. Push for what you want and ask for help, and you can get anywhere.”