SAN ANTONIO — Wandering the streets of San Antonio is 51-year-old Neville. He’s homeless and originally from Zimbabwe.
“When he reached the point of actually going to college, he won an international scholarship and he had a choice to either go to England where his family went or come to the states and he came to the states,” said Valerie Salas, director of homeless services at Christian Assistance Ministry in San Antonio.
Neville had a life of promise filled with family and patriotism.
“And so he came and got his schooling and education here in Cleveland and he also became a veteran, established a life here, had a daughter, had a wife,” Salas said.
But all that was taken over by mental illness. Salas noted Neville has a type of schizophrenia. They’ve known each other for the past seven years.
“Just kind of really invested time in just sitting with him, just getting him to trust me, to kind of start to open up to letting us just care for him on a street level because he won’t go anywhere, he won’t go with anybody, he won’t go to a shelter, he won’t go into a hotel,” Salas said.
Salas scoured the internet for any living relatives and eventually came across Neville’s old Facebook profile. She reached out to family through Neville’s page and was able to arrange a virtual video meeting.
Salas said Neville’s estranged family was elated and surprised to know he’s still around.
The family has expressed desire to take care of Neville in Zimbabwe.
“Today’s the Big Give and SARAH (South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless) has chosen to honor Neville by dedicating all of their Big Give funding today, all of their donations to ‘Neville’s Journey,’” Salas said.
Salas is calling on the community to pitch in to give Neville a better life where he can be with family in his home country.
“Neville deserves a higher quality of life. I wake him up every single morning in this nook right here in a cardboard box and Neville’s worth so much more than that,” Salas said.
SARAH’s mission is to ensure EVERYONE has a place to call home,” said Katie Vela, executive director at SARAH. “To us, this means improving our homeless response system with broad systems change to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness, including individualized care and service plans for our most vulnerable residents. We want to fully support Neville’s care team in their efforts to find a safe, permanent place for Neville to call home.”
Click on the following links to learn how to donate as part of the Big Give and contribute in the coming days.