‘Everybody Rejoiced With Me’

Everardo Jaimez came to Greensboro Urban Ministry in November 2015 after a serious workplace injury prevented him from continuing to work in construction. Everardo, who has extensive customer service work experience, got into road construction after he was laid off from his position with an insurance company.

While working on the road site, Everardo fell 17 feet from a crane and landed on rocky ground. He sought medical attention — and his employer made it clear that he and his whole crew would face job loss if any of them sought medical attention again. Everardo left rather than create risk for his co-workers.

In pain and poor health, Everardo lost his housing soon after. He came to Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Weaver House Shelter, where he began working with a case manager and learning about services available to help him get healthy and get back to work.

At GUM, he found a place to sleep, shower, get bus passes and continue to look for a job. His search continued for several months, however, and at times, he said, he felt about to give up. Shelter Director Michael Pearson and social worker Rikki Cruz kept encouraging him. Then, a job became available at the City of Greensboro contact center. He had a phone interview. He was invited to a face-to-face meeting.

Two weeks later, he was hired. “Everybody rejoiced with me,” Everardo said.

He worked actively at the Interactive Resource Center and Goodwill Industries to polish his resume and job skills. Along the way, he helped other men and women who were experiencing homelessness. In May, he received the IRC Dignity Award for his inspiring efforts. Goodwill highlighted his success story in the summer. “It’s just amazing,” Everardo says. The referrals and partnership among agencies like GUM, IRC and Goodwill, he said, made a big difference in his progress.

In April, with the help of GUM and his case manager, Everardo moved into his own apartment in East Greensboro.

Everardo says before this experience, he was arrogant about his prior successes and looked down on those less fortunate. “It’s an experience that’s humbled me a lot. In the shelter, you are sleeping 6 feet from other people. You don’t know who is sleeping beside you. You’re getting up at 5:30 a.m. and showering along with 80 other men.”

Today his time is spent very differently. His favorite times at home are cooking his own meals, talking on the phone when he wants to —¬†and sitting on his front porch on a cool day. Everardo says simply: “It’s awe inspiring.”