“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 Healthcare 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 healthcare 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 Healthcare 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.
“What I’m most proud of in my life is that I'm able to wake up every morning and know that I've got a roof over my head. To me having a home means redemption. Everything I went through. Francis Grady Apartments, what it means to me, comfortability, stable foundation, and just living.
“If you quote me on anything, quote me saying, ‘When one journey ends, another journey begins.’"
- Warren Magee, Francis Grady Apartments Resident
Enterprise is proud to have partnered with Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation to renovate and redesign Francis Grady Apartments:
- Equity: $5.1 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity (UnitedHealthcare was the investor)
- Transit Accessible: Francis Grady is a five-minute walk to the bus and a five-minute bus ride to the T, Boston’s subway line.
- Health & Housing: Enterprise has produced a series of reports showing how better housing improves health and saves money.