Street stories

Susan Jarvis, Maurice Moore, Mennow Hostetler Jr. and Bruce McGarrigle are among hundreds of people who are homeless in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. Some become that way because of job loss; for others, it could be because of mental illness or issues with drugs or alcohol. Here’s a closer look at their stories:

Bruce McGarrigle made his way back to Youngstown in 2011 – he lived there for nine years in the 1990s – and planned on staying only a few months, but sometimes plans sour.

McGarrigle, 67, said he was staying with relatives, but issues he declined to talk about forced him to the streets for a couple days. He stayed ”anyplace warm,” he said.

The former Navy man wanted to get back to Florida, but said he was unable to gather together the cash for a bus ticket.

He said he was able to stretch what little money he had – less than $20 in the bank in late December – for food, eating maybe once a day.

”I ate meager, but I ate,” McGarrigle said.

He’s now at the Rescue Mission and doesn’t know what’s next in store in for him.

”Whatever the good Lord brings my way, I’m not going to second-guess him … I know he won’t put anything on me I can’t handle,” McGarrigle said.

Susan Jarvis lost her job and then lost her home.

The former Warren woman spent four months in 2011 at the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley in Youngstown and is back there again this winter, readying herself for a yearlong program the mission offers to teach residents living skills.

But there were times when after she lost that job as a nurse’s aide, Jarvis and her husband, Bill, surfed couches of friends and relatives in Warren. When that option wasn’t available, the married couple of 10 years found shelter wherever they could, mostly bedding down in the garage of an abandoned home in Warren.

”It was hard not knowing where you were going to sleep or where you were going to stay,” said Jarvis, 29.

By day, they walked around town, she said. For their meals, they ate at the Warren Family Mission.

But the enormity of the situation – being homeless – didn’t really hit her, she said, until she kicked her cocaine habit.

”Reality really hits you when you stop doing drugs,” said Jarvis, who arrived at the mission in November with only a pair of blue jeans and a couple shirts.

”This place (the mission in Youngstown) is a blessing because you have everything you need. You don’t have to worry about wearing dirty clothes all the time, you can take a shower when you want,” she said.

Mennow Hostetler Jr. said he ”kind of lost all reality of life” in August when his father died, an event that triggered the 56-year-old from Middlefield to begin drinking heavily, so much so his family intervened for his wellbeing.

”They said to me, ‘We just got done burying Dad, and we don’t want to bury you, too,”’ Hostetler said.

He agreed to go to the hospital and then voluntarily checked into the rescue mission in Warren to be part of a yearlong program to get his life straight. In the transition, he lost his apartment.

He grew up Amish, but left the community when he was 16 because ”I felt like that wasn’t my kind of way of living,” he said.

A construction worker by trade, Hostetler said he’s been homeless before, living in different places up and down the East Coast, mostly in abandoned buildings and sometimes in rented motel rooms.

Hostetler said for money, he worked in labor pools, and to move from place to place, he hitchhiked. Along the way, he said he saw the uglier side of humanity, claiming he was spit on, assaulted and called names like ”lazy bum” because of being homeless.

That’s why he wants the mocking and insults of the homeless to stop. ”In the snap of a finger, it can happen,” Hostetler said of becoming homeless.

When he finishes with the program, Hostetler said he wants to restart his house painting business, ”but the best thing for me now is to focus on me.”

Maurice Moore says he wants to work but hasn’t been successful landing a job. He knows being a convicted felon just out of prison hampers his finding employment.

To earn a few bucks since his release in June, he worked as a handyman doing odd jobs around his neighborhood, and until Dec. 30 was sharing an apartment with two men in a neighborhood around downtown, he said.

Moore was evicted from the apartment after one of his roommates went to jail; that man’s name was on the lease, said Moore, who suddenly found himself homeless with only a box containing his belongings.

”Not being able to work and take care of yourself is kind of hard,” said Moore, who drove truck for a living before spending seven years in prison on felonious assault and weapons charges.

Moore had been staying at the Warren Family Mission but left there on Thursday. It’s unknown where he went.