Kyle Quiroz or Kai as he goes by is settling into life in Presque Isle.
“I’m originally from California, Southern California and I was in Northern Maine last year with a mission team called On Eagles Wings and they’re basically a mission team of native youth that go and their mission is native people reaching native people.”
Kai did the mission on both sides of the border, in Presque Isle and and Tobique First Nation. When he decided to return to the area, red tape at the border caused him to not be able to return to New Brunswick.
“So that put me in a weird spot, so I got a hotel for a night and I knew people in Lewiston so I drove back there.”
With no permanent place to stay, the only thing Kai was certain about was that he wanted to stay in Presque Isle.
“It was still snowing at the time, this was like February, and so when I came out I applied to the homeless shelter.”
Despite hesitation from his family back in California, he went ahead with his decision to stay at the shelter.
“The way they saw it, is I have a college degree, I have a car, I have things that, at least coming from California our homeless shelters, we have stereotypes.”
Kai was in the shelter for only two nights.
“I got in and out pretty quick because it is a program and the program is, like they give you case workers and you get set up nicely.”
Kai was able to find a job and now works as a substitute teacher, waiter and as a tutor at the Boys and Girls club.
“I wasn’t ashamed to tell people you know, but when they are like where do you live and you tell them you’re in transitional housing, and ya I use to be in the homeless shelter it’s just kind of cool to see people’s reactions, especially when you’re a teacher at the high school, people are like oh wow what happened.”
Kai says the shelter was a step in his journey to get him where he is today…and he’s thankful it was there.