“You’re existing, you’re not living.”
A veteran of the Gulf War, Luis had trouble adjusting to life post-deployment. This led to a period of combating PTSD, couchsurfing, and eventually prison. During this time, Luis encountered extreme stigma—like being spat on—as well as feelings of isolation while living through housing insecurity and while incarcerated.
“In prison, I went 35 days without hearing my name and without saying a word.”
While Luis is a homeowner now, he still remembers his experiences vividly. He knows the struggles of not being able to change your socks for 4, 5, 6 weeks, and when strangers talk about other unhoused individuals nearby, he’s quick to point out that he was once that person. Luis encourages everyone to talk to individuals living with homelessness, to forget all the stereotypes out there, and to learn to relearn.
Today, Luis still supports Back on My Feet, NY Road Runners, and Samaritan Village. He’s currently enjoying the simple things in life, like taking walks in the park, going for a drive, and enjoying his family and friends.