If you happened to see Pat Murphy volunteering at the Boys & Girl Club, or serving lunches to residents at the Howard County senior center, you might not guess that five years ago, this 66 year old was living in a tent in the woods.
Growing up and living most of his life in Price George’s County, Pat worked as a substitute teacher and a high school football coach. He was happy with his work, but never really made a lot of money, so he would either stay with friends or rent rooms.
Around 2007 he left Greenbelt, MD to live with his sister and help take care of her. Unfortunately, after his sister passed he no longer had a place to stay. His brother then stepped in and provided him a house, but Pat was dependent on getting roommates to help pay the mortgage. When that didn’t work out, Pat was homeless once again and found himself bouncing around from city to city and place to place for the next 7 years.
“I was lost and I didn’t know what I was going to do.” He remembers.
In 2014 he ended up in Jessup, MD living in a tent from April to October and a cold weather shelter from November to March. That pattern continued until August of 2017, when one day while washing his clothes and getting a meal at the old Howard County Day Resource Center he was told about the new Leola Dorsey Resource Center and Residency.
“I always believed if you have faith in God, things will work out for you.”
Today, Pat has a place to call home. He enjoys all of the security and pride that comes from having his own place, as well as a few other perks of living at Leola Dorsey.
“Coming from the woods, I had no help or experience getting certain things, especially if I had to use a computer.” Pat says. “VOACC helped me get my Social Security. They helped me get my ID renewed, get my prescriptions, and even made sure I got a colonoscopy and visit the dentist.”
Now going on five years, Pat is a member of the Tenant Advisory Group and helps plan outings for the residents including trips to the movies, local nature preserve, the zoo and even Baltimore Orioles’ games. Not to mention activities like Bingo, coffee and doughnuts and pizza parties.
“A lot of us would be lost if we didn’t have VOACC.