S.O. Close to Homeless: Part Twenty-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 24, we’re meeting a man who’s been without a home for nearly two years. Through hard word and perseverance, he’s now getting ready to move into a new house with a fresh start.

“It’s something I’ve done for most of my life,” Carlos Quiroga said.

Quiroga knows his way around the kitchen.

“This is where we do all of our prep.”

He prepares, cooks, and serves dinner every night at the Medford Gospel Mission.
It’s a lot of work but Quiroga says it’s worth it.

“It’s nice for people to leave here full and satisfied,” Quiroga said.

Like the people he serves. Quiroga is homeless. He has been for nearly two years.

“I got into an argument with a family member, and we decided it was not a good idea that I stay there,” Quiroga said. “So I lived in a car for about three months.”

Quiroga had money for food, but struggled with alcohol.

“I got into an accident because of alcohol, and I lived on the street wherever I could for three months… I lost a job,” Quiroga said.

He spent that time trying to get back on his feet, but his need to escape his current situation on the street was stronger.

“A couple of times I had saved money to get a place, but I ended up blowing it on partying,” Quiroga said.

Quiroga said the destructive cycle continued… until one day, everything changed.

“I wound up on the bus, with four dollars to my name, and wound up here,” Quiroga said.

He said he didn’t plan to come to the Medford Gospel Mission, but that’s where he found himself.

“I chalk it up to it was a God thing, He pushed me here,” Quiroga said.

Since then, 16 months ago, Quiroga has been sober. It’s a goal he says is getting easier to meet.

“I was tired of living the way I was,” Quiroga said. “It was getting old.”

With a new way of life, Quiroga is getting ready to move into Hope Village.

“My application was only on their desk, I believe about a month before I got a call,” Quiroga said.

With a new roof soon to be over his head, Quiroga is thankful for the journey, and the people he’s met along the way.

“There is a lot of very helpful people out there, even when I didn’t need, it I had people coming to me offering me help, but I refused it, because at the time, I didn’t need it,” Quiroga said.

Those acts of kindness and his own experience, have change Quiroga’s
outlook.

“At one time, I guess maybe years ago, I looked down at the homeless, but once you become one, and you’re trying to get out of it, you look at things a lot different,” Quiroga said.

Now all he has is a drive to keep going, and gratitude for the people who helped him along the way.

“Thank you very much and God bless,” Quiroga said.

Thousands of people in our community are struggling through homelessness. For more information, including resources, visit soclosetohomeless.org, and like the Facebook page.

 

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