Steve had a wonderful life. He and his partner of 41 years, Larry, had a small circle of loyal friends, a beautiful dog and financial security. Larry was a medical doctor who served the community over 39 years. They lived together in a beautiful home. Larry was Steve’s best friend.
Then, the unspeakable happened. In a freak accident, Larry tragically fell, immediately dying from trauma to his brain. It was Aug. 2, 2017, and Steve was left with nothing.
“Devastated, I didn’t know what to do. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for an untimely death. We hadn’t completed a will ensuring the home and finances we shared were allocated properly,” Steve said. “I received nothing from our estate and was left with no home, no money and no idea where to go from here.”
Steve, a stage 4 lymphoma cancer survivor, was frightened and did not know where to turn. Miraculously, he heard about an opening at United Church Homes’ Morning Star Apartments in Moline, Illinois, and was accepted as a resident there.
“I had a safe place to go that allowed me to keep my dog, who comforts me as I continue to grieve my losses,” Steve said.
If he hadn’t found Morning Star, Steve believes his life would have turned out much differently. “I am convinced, with the shortage of housing for someone with minimal income, I would most likely be in a men’s shelter or transitional group home, living in a bedroom and sharing a kitchen and bathroom with strangers.”
Morning Star Housing Manager Laurie Daniel worked with service coordinator Lynee Waterman to help Steve find a place to call home and community resources to help him adjust to life in a retirement community. Steve said Laurie worked hard to get him into his new apartment.
Morning Star has allowed Steve, 67, to remain independent as he learns to navigate his new life. It has provided safety, an apartment to call his own, privacy and dignity. Steve is surrounded by a community of friends and UCH staff members who have helped connect him to resources.
Steve said his partner’s death showed him how quickly life can change.
“I was accepted into Morning Star at a time in my life when I had no other resources,” Steve said. “I can say with all honesty that living here in some ways saved my life, and I will always be grateful.”