Ruben Ochoa never expected that he would be someone who would experience homelessness. Sadly, he was confronted with the reality of personally experiencing homelessness in 2019 and early 2020.
A father of 4 and a grandfather of 3, Ruben has always been a hardworking man motivated by his family. In 2019, Ruben got an injury on the job and, as a result, he had to undergo intensive surgery. To help with the pain post-op he was given painkillers. Ruben explains that as time went on he became more and more addicted to the painkillers. He began taking them to get high instead of taking them to help with his pain.
“That was not a good thing,” he says. “I ended up taking a lot of pills. It got really, really serious, really quick.”
Because his injury halted his ability to work and he had his newfound addiction to the pills, Ruben was evicted. He and his family were left with no place to call home.
“I felt very down. I felt worthless to be honest,” Ruben shares as he thinks back on when he and his family began experiencing homelessness.
Ruben decided then that he needed to work to overcome his addiction to the pills and get things back on track for his family. He worked to get sober and began driving for Uber. One day, while driving to drop a client off at a nearby church Ruben explains that he saw a car with a H.I.S. House sticker on it. (HomeAid Orange County developed 2 of 3 housing options for our partners at H.I.S. House, as they work to serve those experiencing homelessness.)
“I believe God was just setting me up.”
He made the decision to call the number he saw on the car and he says that call is what changed everything. Within a week, Ruben and his two young children had moved into H.I.S. House. While there, he worked to save up and get back on his feet. He was offered a job with HomeAid OC non-profit service provider partner PATH, where he now works in their maintenance department.
“I know it’s only because of the grace of God that I’m here,” he says while reflecting on where he’s at now.
Ruben now lives in an apartment of his own, he works full time, and he has established stability for his family.