Since SECU The Rise on Clanton opened its doors in July of 2022, Roof Above has served nearly 100 people, with a 91% housing retention rate. Many who have moved have transitioned to other supportive housing programs. Khris was the first tenant to move into The Rise.
At the end of November, after a year of stable housing, he spends a lot of his time skateboarding, something he’s been passionate about since childhood. Skating brings him peace. He says, “It’s a feeling that can’t be put into words. I’m pretty good at it. I’ve been doing it so long. It’s kind of like breathing.”
Khris says, “I land everything that I do. I’ll do every trick three times just to know that I can. One is done. Two is true. Three, it’s G. That means, like, you’re good. You can move on to the next thing. It’s a process to me. I stretch and exercise and make sure I have my reflexes.”
Cheryl, Khris’s case manager, says, “He also rebuilds skateboards for kids whose boards need work.”
Other times, he focuses on creative pursuits, like making his own hats. He says, “I’ve always had an eye for clothing, fashion, shoes.”
He also has turned to poetry. Khris says, “It’s a way for me to feel like I get my voice out, like I give my opinion. I feel better when I speak about my life, knowing that somebody can relate.”
Khris acknowledges that having an apartment has helped him on his sobriety journey.
Cheryl says Khris has taken a lot of steps in the journey of life this year. She says, “He wanted to build a stronger relationship with his family, and he was able to connect with his sister and his nieces and nephew. He’s begun to work on his mental health with a counselor.”
Cheryl continues to walk alongside Khris as he looks toward the future. He has plans to complete his education and find a job. Cheryl says, “I’m just so proud of Khris. What a difference a year makes on this journey of life!”
After spending years living in the woods, living in a permanent supportive housing community also comes with challenges. Khris says, “There’s so many people in that same place, at the same time, with different personalities.”
Khris reminds himself, “You’re good. You’re in the right place. At the right time.” He says that God gives him signs. “I’m here to guide. I’m here to be a beacon, to be a lighthouse.”
Excerpt from “A Light in a Dark Place”
We are all given our own specific mission.
A navigator’s son should never forget their position.
We all need a light and a dark place for what is light without dark space.
I am but a humble fisherman searching for more than my quaint disposition.
Vast blue seas.
Freedom for me.
Heart sewn into my sleeve.
My head held high, passion and fire in my eyes, created to prevail.