James Scott was living paycheck to paycheck and staying in St. James, an affordable housing complex for working and recovering homeless veterans in Lexington. He was grateful for the place to live, but his single room occupancy unit felt like a college dorm room, not a home.
“This is not where I’m supposed to be,” he thought.
Then one day as he rode the bus to work, he spotted a construction site just off Versailles Road. Something massive was going up, and though he couldn’t be sure, it looked like an apartment complex.
“I’m going to find out who owns those apartments,” he said to himself, “and how to get into those apartments.”
James’s life had been a series of struggles. He served in the military. He survived cancer. He wrestled with addiction.
“I’ve been homeless, jobless,” he said, “only because of the choices that I’ve made. I said, I have to change my thinking. There is something out there for me. I’m worth it.”
Getting into Stonewall Terrace proved to be another in a series of challenges. His work schedule and lack of transportation made it difficult to get to an appointment during business hours. But he was up for the challenge. Persistence was key.
“I just kept calling Miss Veronica,” he said, referring to the property manager, “until one day I got to her office, filled out the application, and she said, I’ll get back to you.”
He reminded himself that he wanted an apartment, deserved an apartment, that he had done what he needed to do. She called two days later.
“Mr. Scott,” she said, “you can come sign your lease. We have your keys.”
James gets emotional just thinking about that moment.
“The day Miss Veronica called me,” he said, “my whole life changed.”
“I could still be camping out,” he said, “sleeping on couches and stuff like that. These apartments here: people just don’t know the impact that it has.”
He recounted the effect Stonewall Terrace has had on him. He is happier, more motivated, and incredibly thankful. He named his apartment “Masterpiece.”
“These are not just apartments for people to come and put their stuff in. These are apartments for us to put our lives back together, to feel hope, to feel that we are worthy, no matter what we have gone through and what we have done in the past."
He said that the staff at AVOL, the organization responsible for Stonewall Terrance, never questioned his past.
"They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” he said. “I’m so emotional. I just want to jump up and down and scream and holler, say, thank you Lord for these people.”