Victor Stone has lived on the streets and in a car–but never in his very own home.
Stone, a Portland resident, will turn 54 this year. He moved into his tiny home Thursday, along with his feline friend.
“I’m really excited, I’ve never owned my own place before,” Stone said.
Stone’s path to home ownership wasn’t easy, he says. It took years of saving money and working hard to overcome homelessness and addiction.
“The alcohol was having an impact on my health,” Stone said. “If I continued down the path I was going, I wouldn’t be here today.”
In the midst of those personal struggles, Stone says a stranger stepped in and changed his life, allowing him and his cat to sleep in his Ford Expedition.
“A friend asked me if our Expedition could become the home for one of his friends and his cat, and I said sure, so Vic moved in,” Eric Ufer, founder of Pest Solutions in Portland, said.
Stone says Ufer’s small act of kindness was a big blessing.
“I don’t know what I would have done if Eric hadn’t let me use the Expedition,” Stone said.
After a while, Ufer offered Stone a job doing odds and ends for Pest Solutions.
“At that point, we were a four-year-old company,” Ufer said. “We have various things that needed to be done and he was always willing to help out, however he could, and that was cool.”
Stone went to work and, eventually, took a full-time position as the After-Hours Animal Control Manager in Multnomah County.
“To see where he was five years ago, homeless, and see all the effort he put into changing his life … the pride he has as a homeowner, it’s awesome,” Ufer said.
Stone say he is focusing on settling in this weekend and is reveling in his newfound independence.
“People tend to take care of things when it’s something you’ve worked for, rather than when somebody’s gifted it to you,” Stone said. “I have big plans for this thing.”
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