Umar from Chicago, IL

Living in poverty & homelessness for 20 yrs; A bus home is my 1st step to a new life

I need to make positive changes in my life. I know that if I can get home to my family in Atlanta, I can get off the streets and get my life on track.


Thanks from Umar! Apr 11, 2014

Dan, Umar's validator, received this email from Umar after he found out his need got funded...

I just want to thank The (CHICAGO LIGHTS) Elam Davis Social Service Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church for making it possible for me to finally return home; after 20 long years! In fact, when I finish this e-mail, I'm going to call my Mother, (collect), and my Sister; letting them know, that I'll be home next week! (They, in turn, will let the rest of my family know). I am so happy, seriously!! I'm also asking Dan, that you let it be known to those kind souls who helped make my trip home possible through their generous donations - that, I can't thank them enough! And that I'm not returning home as a bitter man after all these years, but as a man who has attained a lot of wisdom! Thanks!!

May God, bless you all... Peace, 'Umar.


I need a one way Greyhound bus ticket to Atlanta so I can get home to my family and better my life.

My goal is to gain stability in my life and become employed. I have my GED and I have work experience in the past in many different fields. But I'm currently feeling stuck on the streets in Chicago. Meeting this need will help me because it will provide me with an opportunity to better myself. It would be a new beginning. If I could go home and not worry about shelter or food or the streets.... then I can get my mind right and make positive changes in my life. I believe that if I can go home to Atlanta, I can refocus on the things that really matter and get my life on track. The first obstacle to achieving my goal is getting to Atlanta.

My current situation is that I've been living in poverty and experiencing homelessness for the past 20 years. I moved away from my family and support system and have struggled to maintain employment and achieve stability in my life. The streets of Chicago are unforgiving and it has been difficult to survive for the past decade. I know that in order to get employment, I need to surround myself with a better support system and be around those who care about me and can help me get back on my feet. I'm a survivor. I'm a fighter. The last 20 years have been difficult but I take pride in the fact that I don't quit and I never stop fighting.

I'm from Atlanta, but have lived in the midwest for the past 20 years. I live on and off the streets of Chicago. I'm most proud of my resiliency and ability to overcome adversity. I'm not bitter or angry about the last 20 years and the struggle to get out of homelessness. I'm simply not going to quit. I'm a very spiritual and compassionate person and I'm hoping to finish my book about my life experience this year. Something interesting about me is that I'm a writer. I'm happiest when I'm writing. I'm creative and innovative.

Need funded!

Thank you for helping Umar fund this need.

$170of $170

Need funded!

9 supporters


This need has been validated by Dan from Chicago Lights: Elam Davies Social Service Center

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Validated by Dan from Chicago Lights: Elam Davies Social Service Center (What does this mean?)

Mr. Umar has been a registered client of Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center since 2005. EDSSC staff and myself have worked with Umar in obtaining emergency services such as food, clothing, toiletries, resources, etc. I've also seen Umar at our weekly Sunday night community meal and other programs. Umar has been receiving ongoing services from the EDSSC for multiple years. 

I think meeting this need is important because I believe Umar needs a strong support system. I believe in a "housing first" approach, and until Umar is off the streets, it will be incredibly difficult for him to focus on making positive changes in his life such as gaining employment. I strongly believe that returning home after 20 years to family will help provide him the support needed to gain greater stability in his life. I believe he can be and will be employable once again.

Umar is a very intelligent, insightful, and self motivated individual. I wouldn't verify this need if I didn't believe this bus ticket could be the spark Umar needs to move forward in his life.

About Dan

My work involves executing the vision for the Elam Davies Social Service Center by building relationships with and providing services for men, women and families who are in need of basic needs, food, clothing, health education and support for their life’s journey. What I like about my job is… Read more