Navy Veteran/Former Wall Street Investor Given A Second Chance Due to Support Group to Speak at Congressional Reception
Leonardo Mcintosh, a 59 year old resident of Barnegat, is scheduled to speak at the July 25, 2018 Congressional Reception representing the 3rd Congressional District of New Jersey. U.S. Representative Tom McArthur (NJ-R-3) represents Barnegat in Congress and is Leonardo’s congressman.
Many may be surprised to learn that Leonardo worked on Wall Street for over 20 years before he became homeless.
Although he made a lot of money, he said, “I realized my life wasn’t fulfilling. I had a hard time even looking at myself in a mirror and seeing the man that I was.”
He didn’t know what to do with his life and turned to his mother for advice.
She told him, “Find something greater than yourself and embrace it.”
That is when Leonardo decided to move from Brooklyn to Barnegat, 6 years ago. However, Leonardo’s transition was more difficult than he expected. He fell victim to drug addiction, alcoholism, and even spent time in jail on multiple occasions. For years, Leonardo struggled with trying to get clean.
Without a home or adequate funds, Leonardo turned to Integrity House. He admits, “They saved my life. I owe them everything from the bottom of my heart. They provided me with a foundation, a network, and a new life where I didn’t need to lean on drugs.”
Leonardo also received support from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ). After thriving as member of one of MHANJ in Ocean County’s support groups, the agency gave him the opportunity to run some of their support groups himself. His new colleagues immediately recognized how he was a natural at helping others and offered him a job.
Leonardo says “I was finally able to find something that is bigger than myself. If I can change just one person, I know I can do a good job. I am happier now that any day I ever worked on at Wall Street.”
Leonardo is also a graduate of MHANJ’s Consumer Connections for his peer specialist training. He speaks at Ocean Community College as a peer support specialist with youth. He also speaks at New Jersey Reentry to previously incarcerated adults.
At the Congressional Reception, Leonardo wants to tell his elected officials that they need to “find ways to expeditiously get individuals into treatment and housing. Most people would rather sleep on benches than deal with the lengthy process of social services.”
Further, he believes that his elected officials need to better help veterans through housing and other programs. He asks, “Why do veterans go and serve our country and then end up homeless?”
He proclaims, “I don’t want to hear we’re doing all we can, we’re not doing enough.”
On July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey Residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Oportunity Starts at Home.
Register today to attend the Congressional Reception. Everyone needs to register even if you are traveling on your own.
Would you be interested in telling your story of the impact of homelessness on your life to your elected officials at the Congressional Reception on July 25? Please contact Kate Kelly at Monarch Housing.