LAS VEGAS - Fifty-six-year-old Lance Reberger reached a milestone this week: he learned how to make a password for an online account.
For many people, it may not sound like a big deal, but after 31 years in prison, Reberger is digitally illiterate.
"If you go out and have a plan, which most people it seems like they have a plan, but once you get out and face the reality of what’s going on out here, I had no clue. So right now I would be homeless if I didn’t have the help that I had," Reberger told KVVU.
The help he’s speaking of is Jared Uraine, a Nevada realtor who met Reberger through a prison ministry program.
"When I heard that he’d been in for 31 years I kind of did the math, and knowing him on somewhat of a personal level ... you can see the crash course ahead that’s coming," Uraine told KVVU.
When Reberger was released in July, he had nowhere to go, so he moved into transitional housing. His rent was $600 a month.
"I didn’t like it, it was group living, dorm living, my particular room had eight other people living there," he told KVVU.
Uraine knew Reberger had no job, little-to-no money, no credit — and a felony on his record.
"They want their application in a PDF format, and so how does he do that?" Uraine said. "So we’ll do that and I’m like, ok send me a picture of your social security card ... and he doesn’t know how to send me a picture. He’ll send me a video."
Uraine stepped in and took Reberger to the state’s welfare office and found two organizations to help. One Step Project donated $1,200, and Casas for La Causa donated $1,750.
Reberger signed his first lease on his very first apartment in September.
"I daydream, and I just say, ‘Wow, I’m free. Finally,’" Reberger said.
These days, Reberger enjoys riding his bike — a gift from the transitional housing program — and paying it forward.
"That’s the ultimate win," Uraine said. "Helping someone to get self-sufficient, and I couldn’t imagine a greater challenge to help someone who’s been disconnected from the reality of this world for 31 years, and to try and start over with all of this that we take for granted every day."