In telling her story to me, Loye was very honest and humble. She is of Chinese and Hawaiian descent and grew up in Hawaii. Her father's military career brought her to Colorado Springs where she lived for many years. Loye recollects that she had a good childhood. However, in her adulthood, Loye found herself in a relationship that turned her life upside down. She and her boyfriend at the time became alcohol dependent and enabled each other in their bad habit. Loye said she can't remember a time that they weren't drinking. Their unstable lifestyle wore down their relationship and eventually the two separated. Hoping to get away from the past, Loye moved to North Carolina for a few years, but eventually returned to Colorado Springs. She knew that she could not return to the life she lived with her ex-boyfriend so Loye found herself in a homeless shelter.
The strict rules and lack of support at the shelter forced Loye to quit drinking. She said it was very hard. She attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and tried to find clinical help. Ultimately, Loye went through the struggles of detox alone. "I never thought I could make it," Loye said, "but I did." During the time that she spent recovering in the shelter, she heard about the services Greccio offered. With limited income from Social Security and retirement, Loye qualified for rental housing with Greccio.
Loye said that having her own home granted her freedom and a sense of empowerment. She was so grateful to be out of the shelter that she began to volunteer with Greccio. "I have to give back for what they gave to me," she said. Now Loye spends nearly 40 hours a week at the Greccio office. Kelly and Pam, Greccio's Resource and Opportunity Center Manger, say that Loye is extremely reliable and helps them to carry out many of their programs. Loye often visits Greccio properties with Pam to help with special events like Ice Cream Socials and weekly lunches for residents. In the office, Loye is a versatile worker, doing every thing from shredding documents to stuffing envelopes. With limited staff and resources, Greccio truly relies on Loye to fill in the gaps. When I asked Loye what vision she had for herself in the future, she laughed. "I haven't really thought about it," she said, "I couldn't be in a better place."
Loye's story is one of great success. As Kelly told me in our last visit, every renter's story is different. For some, renting with Greccio is a step towards renting in a traditional property or even buying home. For others, like Loye, success is finding a community that offers a safe and stable lifestyle. It truly makes me proud to know that the work I am doing with Bike & Build is helping people like Loye find happiness.