Born in Tokyo Japan, Ken and his mother moved to California when he was a child where he grew up. He attended El Cerrito High School, where he received a baseball scholarship to Arizona State University. He was drafted by the New York Mets where he played for five years until an injury ended his career. He tried for years to get disability benefits for his injury, unsuccessfully. While working on this with the Social Security Agency, Ken was introduced to BOSS and moved into Ursula Sherman Village.
Staff at BOSS helped him access all the information and documents he needed in order to get his SSI, and helped with transportation, making doctor appointments and other appointments. BOSS staff helped with filing the proper paperwork and kept him posted on his case. He eventually received benefits (including back benefits) and is now permanently housed in his own apartment.
In Ken’s own words, “BOSS helped me completely.” From the housing classes to learning about income benefit, staff helped him with the necessary documents and encouraged him when he needed it.
BOSS staff observed that Ken’s experiences took a lot out of him—from being a pillar in the community and depended on by his peers while a baseball player, to losing his job and role in the community and experiencing residual pain. He stopped feeling like himself, his self-esteem suffered, and he felt he had let his family, friends, and community down. He is still rebuilding his confidence and working to carve out a new life for himself.
Ken has four children and a fiancé. His goal is to get married and be a loving husband and father. When asked what advice he would give to participants entering BOSS programs, Ken said, “You should give your total attention and cooperation, listen to those there to help you, as that will take you a long way.”
Ken observed that too many people who find themselves homeless are looked at in a negative way. “If more people knew more about BOSS and programs like BOSS, then their outcome will be a positive one.” And, he encourages people, no matter what the obstacles are, stay strong and positive. Help yourself so that you may get help from others, like those in BOSS.
Ken is a go-getter and BOSS is glad to see him doing well and moving forward with his life in a newly optimistic and positive way. Congratulations, Ken!