Kevin spent 12 years as a cab driver, watching as his former passengers, smartphones in hand, jumped into their cheaper and more convenient Ubers and Lyfts. When COVID-19 hit, his income dropped even further as the risks of the job quickly rose. “A few of my coworkers got very sick,” Kevin shared. Continuing to drive a cab was too risky, so Kevin found himself without a job for the first time in over a decade. Not long after, he was forced to move out of his apartment. For many, this would be considered rock bottom, but Kevin saw it as an opportunity. By September of 2020, he was living in Westhab’s Cooper Avenue Rapid Re-Housing Center (Cooper) in Queens.
Kevin didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the resources available to him at Cooper. It was at a job fair hosted by Westhab’s employment services team that he met Silka, a recreational coordinator at Cooper. Silka helped Kevin prepare for job interviews, assisting him in crafting a resume, training him in how to negotiate fair compensation, and encouraging him to be confident in himself. “I used my time here to make myself super employable,” Kevin shared. “I studied the CDL manual, so now I have my Class A CDL permit to drive tractor-trailers. I also got my security license.” It didn’t take long for Kevin to find a full-time job driving a delivery truck.
With a steady income, Kevin managed to purchase a vehicle to get to and from his job. Soon after, Kevin began working with a Westhab housing specialist to identify an affordable place to live. Just in time for his mid-June birthday, he moved into his own room in an apartment. “All of these things happened because of the ability Westhab gave me to clear my mind, focus, and use all of the resources available to make these things possible,” said Kevin.
Silka was rooting for Kevin throughout his journey at Westhab. “He had it all together,” she shared. “He knew that there was a purpose behind him being here, and the purpose wasn’t to be comfortable. It was to use the resources and get where he needed to be, and that is exactly what he did.”
The journey is far from over for Kevin. He has now set his sights on starting his own trucking company. He visits Cooper often, sometimes dropping off lunch for the staff or donating clothing and other items for current residents. Kevin is an incredible example of what can happen when someone is able to take advantage of the tools that Westhab offers to put themselves on a path to stability and independence.