(WSVN) - He was getting gas one minute. The next? He was shot. Steven Palmer’s life changed forever that day, and as the Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek shows us, almost two years later, he’s now making a cry for help.
Being wheelchair-bound is never easy, but imagine living with this challenge and being homeless.
Steven Palmer, homeless: “I lost my car. I lost my apartment. I lost my furniture. I lost my job. I lost my dignity.”
For 33-year-old Steven Palmer, the nightmare began on Aug. 24, 2018.
Belkys Nerey: “These are live pictures of a shooting that has taken place in our area.”
While he was at this Mobil gas station in Sunrise, Steven says a man started fighting with his friend. Steven tried to break it up, but the man pulled out a gun.
Steven Palmer: “He shot me multiple times, not one time but multiple times. I could never walk again.”
Steven spent five months in the hospital recovering, but when he was discharged, he had nowhere to go.
Steven Palmer: “Ever since this injury happened, all family has discontinued ties with me. I started reaching out asking for help, asking, ‘What do I do? Where do I go from here?'”
Since the shooting, Steven has stayed with friends and sometimes at hotels. He applied for housing with several agencies in Broward County, but the waiting lists are long.
Steven Palmer: “I’ve been living on the streets for 19 and a half months with nowhere to go.”
Laurel Walters, helping Steven: “For me, it’s very frustrating, and it’s very sad.”
Laurel Walters is a physical therapist. She met Steven through a friend and decided to help.
Laurel Walters: “We reached out to Broward County housing. That did not work. We reached out to the Broward Housing Initiative program. That didn’t work.”
Part of the problem is that Steven’s medical condition is getting worse. He now has a dislocated hip and serious skin ulcers from the long hours spent in his wheelchair.
Because of his wounds, going to a homeless shelter is not an option because they can’t give Steven the medical care he needs, and his insurance won’t cover the cost of a nursing home.
Laurel Walters: “In the meantime, he’s gotten considerably worse.”
Laurel decided to try one more place and sent an application to Volunteers of America, a faith-based non-profit that helps people like Steven.
Janet Stringfellow, VoA: “We have, at any given time, around 30,000 lives roaming without a safe place to call home.”
VoA says finding housing for the homeless is always difficult and especially hard for the disabled.
Janet Stringfellow: “If you add to that, the system itself, it’s so complex people are kind of falling through the cracks of a broken healthcare system.”
For Steven, it has been a long 18 months.
Steven Palmer: “This is inhumane. I don’t have the proper tools. I don’t have the proper things. I tried to figure out what is my next step.”
But finally, his cry for help was heard. He qualified for the VoA program.
Janet Stringfellow: “We’re already working on this, and we’re hoping that we can deliver the quality of services that he needs.”
They hope Steven will be in his new home in Broward County by the end of June.
Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.