Like a clock with missing parts, Guy’s life seemed beyond repair. Over a seven-year period, the former mechanic, whose passion is fixing clocks, slid from injury to alcoholism to homelessness. Along the way, he became estranged from those he loved – his brother and his beloved daughters.
Since securing stable housing at National CORE’s Valley Senior Village in Escondido, Guy has been rebuilding his life: repairing fractured family ties, maintaining his sobriety and rediscovering his hobbies.
Guy is one of the new residents at National CORE’s Valley Senior Village, an affordable housing community with 50 stunning apartment homes, including 25 for seniors who have experienced homelessness. He said his new home is the linchpin for fixing his life.
“I was struggling,” Guy said. “Getting this apartment has uplifted my life and my spirit. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I keep trying, struggling and falling, but each time I get up and do my best to be better.”
Guy’s challenges began in 2017, when he crushed his hand in heavy machinery while working as a production line mechanic. He was put on disability for a year, but the healing process took far longer. His inability to hold a job meant he could not pay his rent. He moved in with his brother and began drinking to numb his physical and emotional pain.
Guy was living with his daughters, then ages 17 and 14. He had been a single father for nearly 10 years after receiving full custody in his divorce. In 2018, his eldest daughter married, exacerbating his bipolar disorder and leading to feelings of abandonment.
His living situation worsened when he severed ties with his brother after a fight about his drinking problem. He and his younger daughter made their home in motel rooms and his car as she was finishing high school. In 2020, his youngest daughter also became engaged and moved in with her fiancé.
“I was deathly sick with my alcoholism – I was out of money, out of hope and out of touch with anybody who could help me,” Guy said. “I’m grateful that my youngest daughter got married because I didn’t want to put her through any more hardship. Imagine a 16-year-old girl living in a car with her 60-year-old father. It was a struggle.”
Living alone in his car led Guy to eventually hit rock bottom. He started lashing out at his daughters.
“Both my daughters worried about me,” Guy said. “They kept in touch and supported me when times were rough. But when I was in my addiction, they didn’t want anything to do with me.”
On June 29, 2022, Guy decided to stop hurting himself and get help. He entered sobriety programs and received an application for National CORE’s Valley Senior Village affordable housing community. He cried when he heard his application had been accepted.
Guy has been living at Valley Senior Village for just over a month, and he considers every day to be a gift. He’s talking to his daughters again and he’s eager to spend time with his grandchildren. While his daughters live in North Carolina and Northern California, he’s trying to convince them to visit him at his new home and has promised to take his grandchildren to Disneyland.
“Now that I’m at Valley Senior Village, I’m healthy and happy and the love has come back to our family,” Guy said. “My daughters say they see a big change in me – how I handle myself and how I now communicate, and they’re relieved.”
Guy said that Valley Senior Village is in a perfect location for him – just four blocks from his doctor’s office, where he’s getting mental health treatment, six blocks from a grocery store and close to the bustle of downtown.
As a bonus, he’s also six blocks away from an antique clock store – a perfect opportunity to jumpstart an old hobby. Guy mentioned that he’s making friends at Valley Senior Village and that he would love to fix old clocks as gifts for his new friends.
“It’s such a nice feeling, its soothing to know that I don’t have to get up and struggle with living out of my car or on the street,” Guy said. “I now have time to be kind and grateful for all the things I have.”