David’s story illustrates how People Incorporated tailors its services to meet the unique needs of each individual client. He has been living in a People Incorporated residential house and learning to live independently in the community again after struggles with drugs and gangs.

David grew up in Richfield, but is proud of his Cambodian roots—his parents are first-generation Cambodian-Americans. In high school, David became involved with an Asian gang, and eventually drugs, too, especially meth. “I wanted to be tough. But I got in trouble a lot because of the drugs, and the meth gave me delusions—it was terrible. I wanted to kill myself, and was in the hospital for awhile.” But he didn’t have a place to live, and stayed at a homeless shelter for many months.

Linked up with People Incorporated, David was able to move into a People Incorporated–owned house in Burnsville, giving him the stability he needed to tackle bigger issues, since he can stay there for two years while he learns to live more independently. People Incorporated staff provide him with a toolkit of services that are helping him learn the skills he needs to do just that—like understanding his mental illness and how to manage symptoms, as well as the daily things such as paying bills, managing a car, keeping up the house, and getting a job. Eventually he wants to go back to school—he’s a natural with computers. “Everyone treats me so well—they are so friendly and never let me down. Sarah even went with me to a court hearing and found a doctor to take off my gang tattoo—for free!”

David’s making the most out of the new opportunities. “It’s so great to have my own place here, and to try to make up for all the lost time.” People Incorporated has helped David achieve stability in his life, giving him hope for a future that includes giving back to others. He wants to go to schools to talk to kids with Asian backgrounds—encouraging them to stay in school and away from gangs and drugs. He dreams about having a family, teaching a son about life. He’s been doing research on Cambodia and wants to work there to help Cambodian children escape from poverty. And he’s curious about Buddhism, and wants to see if that could be part of his life, too.

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