Cam’s Story: “We will never live like that again”
– November 15, 2017 –
In 2015 Cam* and his mom became homeless and began living in a van. Cam was 20. He quickly had to learn how to survive on the streets. At one point he attempted to move back in with his dad but that didn’t work.
Cam hadn’t graduated high school. But he wanted to. Despite the hardship of having no stable housing he began Goodwill’s GED program. There, in December 2016, he was referred to The Coffee Oasis for their support services. So one day Cam and his mom walked into the Coffee Oasis office, hoping to talk to someone.
They met Jon, who became Cam’s case manager. When they first met Cam acted as though nothing was wrong or difficult in his life. But gradually Jon earned Cam’s trust, allowing him to open up and be honest about his situation. Through case management Cam attended Coffee Oasis job training classes and volunteered at the Port Orchard Café. The daily encouragement of the cafe staff transformed Cam from a nervous kid into a confident barista. Around this time, despite still being homeless, Cam also graduated from the Goodwill program with his GED! After that Jon helped secure college funding and enroll Cam at Olympic College. He is now pursuing a degree in computer science!
This year Cam’s living situation became more hopeful in a very unexpected way. A local farm owner welcomed him and his mom to park their van on the property and also offered them both employment. The owner is currently improving a building that Cam and his mom will eventually move into.
“I do not know how we survived living in that van for so long. We will never live like that again!”
Speaking to Cam now you can see the change within him. He is more confident and has hope for his future. He shared, “I do not know how we survived living in that van for so long. It stripped us of our dignity, living on the streets without shelter that so many take for granted every day. We will never live like that again!”
*name changed to respect youth’s identity