S.O. Close to Homeless: Part Four

Medford, Ore. — NBC5 News is partnering with Access to start a community discussion, and bring you an in-depth look into the lives of people who are homeless, have been homeless, or who are very close to it. In week four, we’re meeting John Clarke.

Clarke is a Rogue Valley man who’s worked all over the world, has a retirement plan, and up until recently, has been living at the Medford Gospel Mission.

“Well there’s that old saying, you’re just one paycheck from it, and it’s true,” Clarke said. “I’m an alcoholic, and I just, drank myself out of money, just realized, I didn’t realize I was at that point, you know, ’til I had to be here.”

Living at the Medford Gospel Mission, Clarke has learned to adapt to a completely different lifestyle. He carries a backpack full of items with him whenever he leaves the shelter.

“My life, my meds, diabetes machine, just everything, all my resumes,” Clarke said, describing the contents of his backpack.

He’s been looking for work, for a couple weeks now, with tailored resumes.

“One for maintenance, cooking,” Clarke said. “I can’t seem to find a job, I got like 26, 28 applications out.”

Clarke is searching for a job that will get him back on his feet, but also just through the next four years.

“I’ll work until I’m 65 and then I can retire.” Clarke said. “I have a pretty good retirement, because I’ve worked all over the world, I’ve had really good jobs… that’s why I can’t believe I can’t find a job right now.”

Working on drilling rigs, Clarke’s career took him far beyond the Pacific Northwest.

“Worked in Africa for two years, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore,” Clark listed.

Those exotic locations are night and day from his circumstances now. Without the most basic of comforts, Clarke realized those were things he often took for granted.

“When you’re working and you’re making big money, and things are working good, you tend to forget, I guess,” Clarke said. “I did, anyway.”

Dealing with hardship, Clarke says the experience has been humbling, and even brought him back to his faith.

“Nobody ever thinks you’re going to wind up in a mission, but it was a Godsend for me, it’s helped me a lot,” Clarke said.

Clarke has since gotten a job a local restaurant. For more information on homelessness and resources, visit the S.O. Close to Homeless website.

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