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Vignettes of the homeless

BY Penny Soldan, Staff Writer Published: November 13, 2009
Shan Underwood, 24, is a certified nursing assistant from Oklahoma City. But she said she made some bad decisions and wound up homeless.

“I was depending on people instead of God,” she said. “But now I’m surviving by City Rescue Mission alone. They took me in like a family.”

Underwood has been living at the Oklahoma City center since last September. She received help with anger management issues, is learning work ethic and social skills and even got much-needed glasses.

“I’m finally getting my life together,” Underwood said. “And I got all the help I need from God and City Rescue Mission.”

Ted Sturgis, 64, has been a house painter is whole life. He has also been a home owner a couple of times.

But now, he is homeless.

“I’ve owned my own home, but I always ended up homeless because of my drug situation,” he said. “This last time, I had a chance to join the Bridges to Life program offered at City Rescue Mission, and now I am a born-again Christian.”

The Oklahoma City native is also doing what he can to help others who have been through similar situations.

“I just wish that City Rescue Mission was 10 times the size that it is so we could accomodate all homeless people everywhere,” he said. “Because if it worked good for me, I’m sure if can work good for others.”

Keith Ainsworth, 57, was in the antique collectibles business for 25 years. But when tragedy struck — his parents died two days apart and he was served divorce papers that same week — he went into deep depression.

“That’s how I ended up here,” he said of his year-and-a-half stay at City Rescue Mission. “And I’m surviving very well.”

Ainsworth is in a second-year intern program at the center, and he also a staff intern in charge of helping people staying at the shelter get involved in the various programs that are offered.

“This place has given me the opportunity to get to where I can progress again,” he said.

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