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Vignettes of the homeless

BY Penny Soldan, Staff Writer Published: November 13, 2009

p /> “This place has given me the opportunity to get to where I can progress again,” he said. “But I think if there were some way to transition toward the streets, it would be a lot better.

“In order to get back into the world, we need transportation and the opportunity to get back out there and find jobs.”

Sybil Bentley, 43, spent 12 years living out of boxes and going from friend’s house to friend’s house. But last March, after suffering two black eyes in an abusive relationship, she decided she couldn’t take it any more.

“I called my mother and told her I needed a bus ticket from Tulsa to here,” she said, referring to City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City. “My mother found this place for me, because she wanted me to get help so bad, and she thought this was the only thing that would help me.

“I didn’t want to come at first because I was scared, and when my mom brought me here, I cried. But I knew it was for the good. I knew it was what I needed.”

And Bentley is getting what she needs — shelter, food, clothes, faith, health care and help through the center’s programs.

“I’m doing much better,” she said. “I got my smile back. I lost it for a long time. I’m excited about moving on, but I don’t want to take it too quickly. I’m just getting through the program and waiting on the Lord to show me what’s next.”

Bentley is also reconnecting with her son, Cameron, who came to the shelter four months ago.

“He got in some trouble, but I hope he’s not going to take after me,” she said. “Because it took me 43 years to get help.”