We stopped by Donny’s PadSplit on his day off. The washer and dryer ran in the background as he shared his story. Donny is a 6-month PadSplit member who values the security and flexibility his new home offers.
PadSplit: How are you doing today?
Donny: I'm off today. I'm doing a little bit of laundry and house cleaning and everything like that. I like a clean environment. I work all different shifts. Morning, noon, and night. I'm a chef, retired chef, that had to go back into the workforce. I’m presently employed at the Downtown Westin in Peachtree Plaza. So, I’m doing okay. Just enjoying a day off.
PadSplit: Where were you before?
Donny: I was at the Gateway Center. Got to say, I've got a lot of respect for them. If it had not been for the Gateway Center and my case managers, I would have never known about you all. Because it was them that brought the suggestion to me. As far as the PadSplit thing, I didn't understand it.
PadSplit: Tell me about your experience at the Gateway Center.
Donny: The Gateway Center is a program. A lot of people think that it's a shelter, but it is not a shelter. It is a program that helps you get back on your feet. If you have a problem or a substance abuse, they have a program for that. Veterans, they have four floors full of veterans. And they take care of the veterans there.
You have the program that I was in, which was Project Connect. And what that allowed me to do is go in, you have a room, you're having two meals a day, you go out and you find employment. Now, if the Gateway Center don't put you into an apartment, they find organizations that will sponsor you. In other words, my first apartment was over in Oakland City. And they found organizations that got me into the place. Of course, there a food bank over here on Murphy. They got me furniture. I got food. And they had conversations that helped me. They got me my first and last month of security paid, my electricity turned on. And then I didn't have to put it down.
But, from there, it was on me. They give you a push start. They give you a good setup. And I stayed there four years, in this one apartment, of course, until they sold the place out from under us and I got in contact with my former case manager who introduced me to my current case manager. And we started this all over again.
PadSplit: What did you think when they mentioned PadSplit?
Donny: So when I heard about PadSplit, I was like, "Uh, I don't want a room." I wanted an apartment. But then, at this stage in my life, I don't need a lot of baggage, furniture and things like that because I'm always on the go. One day I can get a call and they say, "Donny, can you come to North Dakota," like I did before. "We need a baker out here starting at $35 an hour." I'm going to North Dakota.
PadSplit: What has your experience been like so far?
Donny: Cleanliness, place looks great. I don't have very many complaints up to this point. Maintenance is pretty good, which is, to me, what I'm paying for. Safety, too. The way things are going, the viciousness, the violent-ness. We got that camera up there and the doors lock. I was surprised at the safety that's here. It's in place. But it has to be used by the house guest.
PadSplit: Glad to hear it. Now that you’re here, what are some of the goals you have for yourself?
Donny: I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses and I take that seriously. That means that I have to keep my environment clean. It has to stand above anyone else's. It makes me try to stand out here and follow the rules.
PadSplit: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Donny: Safety is everything to me. Someone's word is everything to me. And, all in all, they do pretty well here. I can't complain too much. There's certain things I'd like to see fixed and everything. But, other than that, I've been comfortable here.
Donny’s story is one we hear a lot at PadSplit. Many members see PadSplit as a way for them to gain control in other areas of their lives. With flexible, affordable, safe housing, they can focus on building their bank accounts — and pursuing their dreams.
Interested in learning more about becoming a PadSplit member? Apply here.