|Peter Tubbs (left) sits down with Derick Bussiere, the NOAH Shelter's housing search specialist.|
On the first day of December, Peter Tubbs received an early Christmas present – the keys to a new apartment in Hyannis.
It represented a major stepping stone for the Cape native who had been homeless for the past five years. He finally had a home of his own. “I’ve kind of been bouncing around. You know displaced, homeless,” he said sitting on a bed inside the second floor of HAC’s NOAH Shelter.
The shelter was one of several places he lived as he struggled with substance abuse and the uncertainty of not having a permanent place to call home. “I would stay at friends’ houses. I stayed at my family’s for a few days. I stayed at hotels,” Tubbs said. “Try doing that for a month and you find out you can’t do it because your money runs out and that makes it impossible to get into a place because you’re spending your money on a hotel. But you don’t want to be out on the street.”
The 45-year-old Tubbs first came to NOAH roughly three years ago, describing it as “a scary moment because I had never been in that situation before.”
He stayed for a few months before leaving, eventually returning a second time this year. Because of his problems with addiction, he said the shelter’s new policy of only allowing sober clients to spend a night at the shelter has “made me feel much safer.”
Additionally, he was buoyed by the resources – employment, housing and access to other supportive services – at NOAH. “I feel like they saved my life, really, because I don’t know where I’d be,” Tubbs said. “That’s the truth.”
He termed the NOAH Shelter a “stepping stone” to where he moved into on the first day of December, a single room occupancy home, with seven other men, that has a common area and a shared kitchen and bathroom. He has his own bedroom and is one step closer to where he wants to be.
His future goals are relatively simple and modest. He wants to utilize his college degree in marine affairs and fisheries. “And certainly, I want to continue on the path I’m at in terms of recovery and making sure I don’t end up in a situation where I’m homeless again,” he said.
He credited the NOAH Shelter for giving him another chance. “It feels like I have an opportunity to live again. To have a new life,” he said, just a few hours after he was given the keys to his apartment. “I’m more grateful than I’ve been in a very, very, very long time.”
Following his interview for this story, Tubbs shook hands with the shelter’s housing search specialist Derick Bussiere. “Good luck, man,” Bussiere said, before Tubbs walked out of the facility and towards a new life.
“You can see in his demeanor how he’s changed,” Bussiere said. “This is why we do it. You count your victories… It is a good thing. And then it is on to the next person.”
This past year through the beginning of December, Bussiere said the NOAH Shelter had housed over 130 people like Tubbs, each given a chance to move on with their lives and escape the dangers of homelessness. These are the victories.