Resident Overcomes Challenges In Supportive Community

August 24, 2015 | Posted in Health |

Michael Greene spent two decades living a fast-paced life that included working in the entertainment industry and traveling all over the world. He had struggled with hyper anxiety ever since he was a teenager and ultimately turned to alcohol as a way to cope and to fuel his chaotic existence.

“My anxiety didn’t allow me to be present,” he said. “Alcohol became my normalcy, and I was like that for 25 years.”

Eventually, Michael’s drinking overtook his life and the rest of his priorities fell away. He struggled to keep jobs and soon became homeless.

Change for Michael came when he enrolled himself in the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation program. After graduating from the program, Michael learned about Foundation Communities. He moved into an apartment of his own at Garden Terrace, one of our communities for single adults, and has been with us for the last six years.

“I see my time at Foundation Communities as completely progressive and forward,” Michael said. “It’s my ascent to my ultimate goal, which is self-sufficiency.”

Michael has come a long way since he fi­rst arrived at Garden Terrace. His anxiety used to prevent him from coming out of his room but now he happily walks the halls and chats with his neighbors and our staff. Michael has added structure back into his life by helping to manage the food pantries at three of our communities, and he’s hoping to begin a second job in the near future.

He is also committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a mostly plant-based diet and riding his bicycle around town to alleviate stress. “I’ve learned that pacing yourself is very important,” he said.

Michael is one of many residents who has benefited from our partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Because of a $2 million federal grant we received from SAMHSA in 2006, we were able to add social work staff at our communities for single adults, like Garden Terrace, and work closely with local healthcare providers to give our residents access to critical services.

Dr. William Kelly, a professor of sociology at UT Austin, studied the implementation of the SAMHSA grant at our communities and found that our residents benefited tremendously. Michael was one of the residents Dr. Kelly spoke with while doing his research.

“Mr. Greene is one example of how, given the right services and the right people providing them, a life can change in extraordinary ways,” Dr. Kelly said.

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