I Wasn’t Supposed to Live Longer than Six Months

"I was born with cerebral palsy. I weighed one pound, three ounces when I was born. I wasn't supposed to live longer than six months, and I am 47 years of age, and I am truly blessed. I suffered a spinal cord injury the summer of '98, and that pretty much tells it all.

"I became homeless around 2011 due to infidelity in my marriage. Things didn't work out. She decided to put me in the street. I had maybe three days of clothing and $15 to my name. That led me to just surviving for myself. My mother – God rest her soul – taught me how to provide for myself. So, that's what kept me going.

"I slept in cars, at train stations. It was tough. Waking up to somebody standing over you and you don't know who they are, you're like 'Whoa, what the heck is this?'  Then you have to find a spot to lay your head and stay warm at the same time, and then worry about somebody robbing you or possibly doing bodily harm to you. Did I sleep well at night? No. Same thing with living in a shelter. They wake you up at 4:30 in the morning. They put you out at 7. I wouldn't wish none of what I went through on my worst enemy. If my story can inspire people, so be it.

"I stayed at the shelter about a year and a half. You name it, I went through it all. I even suffered
a stroke there, so they shifted me to Barbara McInnis, which is part of Boston Health Care for the
Homeless. I spent about one or two months there getting better. Then I went to a nursing home in
West Roxbury. I was there for three years waiting on housing to come through. 

"I wouldn't wish being homeless on anybody. To make it even more challenging, being disabled
is one thing, being a minority and being disabled – that's a double whammy. You've got to fight
for every little thing that you want. It doesn't matter what gender you are.

"Grand total, I was homeless for six years. March 14, 2016 is when I moved into Francis Grady.
"My relatives, my loved ones, they're happy. They're happy I've finally got a roof over my
head. They watched me go through it. Even though they couldn't take me in at the time, I have
no ill feelings toward that. I have a 16-year-old daughter, and everything I'm doing, I do it for
her. I don't do it for myself.

"Now that I live here, getting health care is definitely convenient. That's what I can pretty
much sum it up as. I've got a roof over my head. I'm not complaining. When I was homeless,
I just had my health card, and if I got sick, I went to the ER. That's how it is for 90 percent of
anybody that's homeless because they don't trust anybody. The one thing I learned about living
in the street, you have nobody to trust but yourself.

"Most of the tenants in here, we all come from the same population, being homeless. A lot of
us go to Health Care for the Homeless, so if anything happens health wise, they've got the staff
downstairs, next door, to come do whatever they need to do.

"If you quote me on anything, quote me saying, 'When one journey ends, another journey begins.'" 

- Warren Magee, Francis Grady Apartments Resident

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