Originally from southern California, Steve has been “bouncing through” Missoula for about seven years, usually on his way to visit his father in northwestern Montana. Steve used to make the drive from California (where his mother had lived) to Montana in less than three days. He would stop in Missoula to rent a hotel room, shower and rest for a spell.
The first time Steve came to the Poverello Center, it was only to take a shower and change into clean clothes. The second time, however, Steve came to the Pov because he had just lost his job as a car mechanic in Kalispell. Steve was unable to continue working because of the continued pain from a back injury he suffered during his time in the military:
“My whole life up until then had revolved around my work. I had no social life what-so-ever. If I wasn’t turning wrenches at the [car] dealership, I was turning wrenches on my own cars. I lost everything [when I had to quit working].”
Steve became homeless.
At the time this photograph was taken, Steve had been living in California, but had come to Missoula and the Poverello Center after learning his mother had been murdered by her boyfriend:
“I just needed to escape and process it all and deal with the mental and psychological effects. I wanted to get a hold of my dad. And it turns out he is currently out of the country. Why I came to the Pov and why I came to Missoula is it’s a whole lot more quiet than other places I’ve been.”
Steve left the day after this photograph was taken to go back to California.
I wish… “That my dad is happy and healthy. He is retired now and likes traveling a lot. He spends anywhere from six to ten months over seas. I haven’t been able to get a hold of him yet.”
I look forward to… “I’d like to try going to college. To get training in something that isn’t physically intensive. [Something] that uses my head for more than a hair farm and a hat rack. I want to go back to a job, have a place of my own, and be a functional member of society.”
My favorite thing about the Poverello Center… “[Is] the quiet and tranquility. This stay was like a retreat. At least for a short period of time it allowed me to think about a lot of different things, like where do I go from here; what are my goals. There was one time when it was just a stop in the road.”
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”