Year after finding salvation, Bellingham man struggles to overcome homelessness

Dave Ferris has been off meth for 360 days, but his temporary job has expired and he's living in a car -- with a child due in March.

Dave Ferris stood on the street corner outside the Bellingham Fred Meyer Friday thinking about how everything has essentially come full-circle.

It was almost exactly one year ago when Ferris' life took an unexpected turn. He was living in the woods, was sick and addicted to meth when a stranger took him in and got him help.

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Dave had several toes amputated due to an infection. Over the next year, he kicked his meth habit, got temporary housing and found a temporary job. Dave spoke about homeless issues before government officials and even built shelters for those still on the streets.

Things were good.

"Actually, I'm in total awe that I'm standing here right now talking to you as healthy as I am," Dave said Friday.

Dave has been sober 360 days, but that's about the only thing that has changed for the positive.

"Unfortunately, I'm homeless, again," he said. "I don't have a job, so I don't have a place to live."

Dave's temporary job at Western Washington University expired a few weeks ago, as did his time at the local shelter.

Even with all the help he has had, rebuilding his life has been incredibly difficult.

"Most employers want a stable background. They want an address. I don't have any of that," he said. "When they ask for a phone number, sometimes my phone isn't on because I can't pay my bill."

It's a familiar refrain often repeated by the homeless and their advocates alike. Getting off the streets is just the beginning of a very long, hard journey.

Dave is now living in a donated car.

"It's hard to imagine I'm right back here after all I've been through," he said.

Inside the car, parts of which are literally held together with duct tape, is a picture of the one thing that keeps him going. It's an ultrasound of the son he and his girlfriend are expecting in March. Taped to the roof is a picture of his recent baptism.

A year after starting his life anew Dave Ferris has one simple prayer.

"I pray about being a good father to this boy. Maybe a job will come along and a place to stay," said Dave, fighting back tears. "But I believe in myself. I just gotta keep on going forward."

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Friends have set up a Facebook page chronicling Dave's journey. You can visit it here.