Editor’s Note: Lydia, Beacon’s first residence is 15 years old this year. Lydia is entering a new phase this year and we wanted to share a story from September 2017 to show the difference supportive housing like Lydia can make in the lives of people.
Omir’s life changed in an instant when his wife and children were killed in an accident.
After the loss of his family, Omir wanted to die. “Sometimes people take the wrong path or the wrong people,” he said. During this dark time, he returned home to Minnesota and a year later received another life-changing piece of news: he was HIV positive. This led to a rift in his family and a loss of their support.
“I believe in good,” Omir said. “Even though there is darkness, still there is light.”
A long period of insecurity and homelessness followed. He was in the Our Saviour’s Shelter when he heard about Lydia Apartments, Beacon homes located south of downtown Minneapolis. Lydia has eight apartments that are set aside for persons with HIV/AIDS.
Now at Lydia, Omir is stable and has the opportunity to take care of himself. And, it allows him to find ways to give back. “I believe in good,” Omir said. “Even though there is darkness, still there is light.” He is involved with the Aliveness Project, the Minneapolis-based organization that helps provide food and resources to persons with HIV/AIDS. Because of his history he is leading workshops on breaking down the stigma of HIV. He also volunteers at other HIV charities in the area.
Omir acknowledges that being homeless can be a challenge mentally. “A lot of people who are homeless have a tendency to be overwhelmed,” he said. Even for him, being homeless felt like treading water.
“I love my unit,” he said about his home at Lydia. He is in love with the apartment’s location near downtown and enjoys being able to go out for runs with his dog.
Having a home means Omir is able to dream. He wants to get a Master’s in Holistic Health and he loves to write poetry. He shared a poem about being given a chance at life:
A second chance I do not wish for… But even if I was to begin my life again but I lose all the knowledge that I have turned into wisdom, for this wisdom I have been through a lot of heartache and put my Island myself on the island of isolation thinking I knew so much when I knew so little… useless in my mind my own self be true and to make peace with my simplicity… to begin anew a second chance would be to forfeit all that I have gained and to begin again… that means again running what I don’t like to determine what I truly want, in that second chance would I be able to learn the wisdom that I have learned today or would my mind finally on some of the journey. I only have plans a, for to have plan B would make me doubt plan A and myself. So I only want one chance
Omir was named by his father who was Egyptian. Omir is Arabic for “flourishing.” Omir is doing just that.