I escaped from Bulgaria on Friday 13, 1985. The communists were chasing me. I am Macedonian. I was a member of O. M. O. Ilinden (Organization for a United Macedonia). I was a political refugee. I had a sponsor in Utah. When I escaped, the communists were still in power. You couldn’t say much about them. People disappeared. I was afraid I would disappear too, so I run.
I didn’t speak English. I got a job as a housekeeper at a Marriott in Salt Lake City. I became a set-up guy for events at a Hilton in Salt Lake City when my English was a little better. I became supervisor. A cousin of mine moved from Bulgaria to Chicago. They found me and I came to Chicago.
I got a job in construction. I had a problem with my lungs and started slowing down. I didn’t have the means to see a doctor. I didn’t have strength for construction any longer. I got temporary jobs—I couldn’t keep a full-time job. I was working at Blommer Chocolate but the cocoa powder made me sick. I got a job at Grant Achatz’ Next Restaurant.
I came home one day after work and found all my possessions in the alley—I had fallen behind on my rent. I became homeless. It was 2 years ago.
Somebody told me about a shelter at 10 S. Kedzie. I lived there for a month and then I heard about the Boulevard which provides shelter for people in medical recovery. I have COPD, arthritis and back pain.