“I was tickled pink when I moved in. This is my home.”
Toronto experienced his first devastating loss at three months old when his mother passed away. Never getting the opportunity to know her, he grew up with his grandmother and grandfather and attended local Charlotte schools. Toronto started working at gas stations and convenience stores while in school.
Deciding he could do better on his own as an entrepreneur, he dropped out of school after the 10th grade. His pressure-washing/painting business was doing well, but at age 23, he was introduced to selling cocaine for extra money. A few years later, Toronto started using cocaine. During this time, he was shot in the arm, and the bullet is still in his shoulder today. By 1993, Toronto was homeless, spending his time selling drugs and also going to jail.
Toronto then experienced his second devastating loss. In 1999, his grandmother passed away. Her last wish was to see Toronto clean before she died, and Toronto stopped using drugs two months before she passed away. He stayed clean for almost 10 years.
In 2008, Toronto started using drugs again, and in 2012, he was hit by a car in front of a local nonprofit where he was receiving help. With numerous injuries, Toronto took the time to recover and become clean again.
Last August, Toronto moved into McCreesh Place. “I loved it. I felt like I was in heaven. It felt like it was my own condo.”
These days, Toronto stays busy playing his guitar and his keyboard, while also working towards obtaining his GED. He also recently completed his Peer Support training and he wants to become a Peer Support Specialist to help others who have been homeless. He often volunteers with Supportive Housing Communities (SHC), whether pressure-washing the McCreesh Place patio or helping transport items for SHC’s annual fundraising luncheon. Toronto uplifts others in the program with his kindness.
“I try to show my blessings back by volunteering and helping others.”