I Am Hearth: Arley

Arley Howard is embracing his second chances. After being homeless for seven and a half years (and having stayed in just about every homeless shelter in the area) he received keys to his own front door in August 2014 – but that’s just the beginning of his new life.

Arley’s homelessness began when he was laid off from his job at City Hospital as a result of the merger with Boston University. For awhile he got by working temp jobs as a cook, but things went downhill, in part because of his substance abuse issue. However, Arley has been clean for over three years, and he now knows it was related to traumatic experiences growing up.

Although not all of his five children are ready to renew their relationships with him, he is getting to know his youngest son, age 17, and wants to be the best parent that he can be.

At 64 years old, Arley is currently a student at UMass, studying to become an addiction counselor. He’s learning about motivational interviewing and wants to use his insights to help others  address their addictions. As he puts it, there’s not too much others have gone through that he can’t relate to, and he sees that as an opportunity.

Arley is grateful for the support Hearth has given him over the years, and he says it’s now time for him to give back and help others.