MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – 33-year-old Rudy Forsberg is a fourth generation Yooper from Marquette.
“Growing up I went to Silver Creek Elementary and then Bothwell and then I finished high school at Marquette Senior High School,” said Rudy. “Growing up was good, you know, it was a good childhood.”
Rudy says homelessness can happen to anyone and it did for him.
“I wouldn’t wish what I had to go through on anybody,” said Rudy. “It was self-inflicted I guess, but I don’t wish what I had to endure on anybody.”
To help himself get back on his feet, Rudy turned to the Room at the Inn.
“Oh it’s funny, I actually met Rudy at Ohio Street Park when I was in eighth grade,” said Nick Emmendorfer, Executive Director, Room at the Inn. “Rudy was a little bit older than me and he was playing at the park with some of his friends and then I didn’t see Rudy for almost a decade When I was volunteering at the Warming Center and I walked in and I sat down and had breakfast with Rudy. There was just something about him. He really had a positive attitude among the rest of the guests at the shelter.”
After showing hard work, determination and using his resources given to him, Nick offered Rudy a job.
“Well I was hanging out at the Warming Center all day and I had my own personal goals that I wanted to accomplish,” said Rudy. “When Nick came along, it was a lot easier to get housing goals and stuff accomplished and once that was done, Nick saw something in me that he liked and offered me a job. Without a doubt, I obviously said yes and I’m still employed there. It is a job, but I don’t look at it as that because I know what it’s like to be homeless and it’s not enjoyable at all. Anytime that I can give back to a place that gave so much to me, that means a lot.”
Rudy serves as their nighttime supervisor and Nick says he is role model to all other guests that utilize Room at the Inn.
“We came into a position where we realized we needed overnight staff if we wanted our operation to work effectively,” said Nick. “Rudy was already there every night, he had a good rapport with the guests he was showing me that he had initiative and wanted to step up to the plate. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better fit to fill that staff position, so I offered Rudy the job and ever since then he’s been a shining example for the rest of guests of what’s possible if you’re just willing to weekly work towards those goals that you set for yourself.”
Even though it can happen to anybody, Rudy says you can come out of it, just like him.
“For me, this is my hometown,” said Rudy. “I found myself feeling like a stranger in my own hometown. It’s pretty scary but if you use the services and everything like that, anybody can get out of homelessness and Room at the Inn definitely isn’t a retirement home. It is a stepping stone and if you do talk to a guest advocate and set goals for yourself weekly if you’re going to be a long-term guest, it’s totally possible.”