Manny’s Story

Manny’s Story

A popular bartender in Providence for over 20 years, Manny Gomes’ life was changed when a car crash left his leg badly damaged. During recovery, he took oxycodone for the pain and turned to heroin when his prescriptions ran out. A quick downward spiral left Manny living on the streets until one cold night in 2005. Sleeping in a dumpster, Manny woke to the rumbling sound of his dumpster being emptied into a refuse truck. Manny called for help as the truck broke bones and puncture a lung.  After a three month stay in the hospital, Manny returned to the streets until a friend told him about House of Hope. After an interview with the executive director, Jean Johnson, Manny was offered an apartment at the Fran Conway House, on of House of Hope’s affordable housing buildings, and was able to qualify for disability and enroll in methadone treatment. Manny has since moved into permanent housing and keeps busy doing landscaping and helping neighbors. He does so much for his community that he has become known as the Mayor of Apponaug. Manny also serves on the Board of Directors for House of...

Families in Housing

The Allens* Family came to House of Hope CDC from a family shelter and have been living in one of our permanent supportive housing single-family homes. With two deaf parents and 7 children, they have a variety of needs that our Family Case Worker and Youth Coordinator have worked to address. From navigating the public school system, to ensuring health and safety and financial security, our staff have been the support system this family needed to be successful in housing and as members of their community. The Allens’ recently welcomed their 7th baby to the family and while mom had previously experienced significantly high risk pregnancies, his baby was the healthiest at birth of all the Allens children- a direct result, mom says, of the stability of housing. Sarah*, a disabled woman who uses a wheelchair was housed at our Thomas Wilbur Homestead in 2010 and has been healthy and happy since. Thanks to our family supportive housing, her adult son is able to live with her and help care for her- eliminating the need for institutional care or expensive in-home care and the risk of future homelessness for this family. They even recently welcomed a puppy to their family. Marion Brooks, who became homeless 9 years ago, looks back with some satisfaction at what she and her children have achieved since then. Her daughter Tiffany, now 24, was born with Down syndrome. After graduating from Pilgrim High School and picking up several gold medals in the Special Olympics, she has a cleaning job at the Navy complex in Newport. Stephen, 20, won honors for his senior project at...
Carleton’s Story

Carleton’s Story

Carleton Freese grew up in Rhode Island and studied music at URI. After school he had a successful career in entertainment. By 2002 he was making good money and saving for retirement. The onset of an inherited disease attacking his heart disrupts his plans for the future. He lost his job, insurance, and eventually his apartment before more diagnoses reveal cancer, diabetes, and the looming necessity of a heart transplant. Two huge factors stand between Carleton and his new heart: cancer and the lack of a stable home.   House of Hope worked with Carleton and offered him an apartment in the Fran Conway House. This stable home allowed him to be able to get the treatments he needed and saved his life. After overcoming cancer and moving into his apartment, Carleton was able to get his heart transplant.   Today, Carleton enjoys using his gift for public speaking to raise awareness about homelessness in Rhode Island. He speaks for Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless and shares House of Hope’s goal to end homelessness in Rhode Island....
Deb’s Story

Deb’s Story

After losing her father when she was 5, Deb Baker’s childhood only got worse. Alleged “friends” of her father’s and her mother’s new boyfriend raped her throughout her childhood until she moved out. She finished high school and got a job at a donut shop. After the loss of her one year old nephew, she lost her job, got into alcohol and drugs, and got involved in illegal activities. She would get arrested and feel happy about it, knowing that she would have somewhere to sleep other than a car or a basement.   A work release agreement as a janitor brought Deb to House of Hope’s tiny shelter on Shippen Avenue. This opportunity with House of Hope encouraged Deb, but not enough to help her yet. When her sister was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Deb decided she had to get back on her feet. After being released from her latest stay at the Adult Correctional Institution, Deb was chosen for a permanent apartment.   Jean Johnson had confirmed that she was a good candidate for one of the Wheeler House’s five apartments. For Deb, this was her opportunity to get back on her feet and to be successful on her own. This milestone in Deb’s life wouldn’t have been possible without the help of House of Hope. Supportive housing helped Deb find a place to call home, and now it is a place that she can maintain on her own. Deb appreciates what they have done for her so much and does everything she can to give back.  “They are little acts of love, to show them...

Bob’s Story

Bob lived in Harrington Hall since 2010.  He was diagnosed with Depression and Bipolar disorder in the 90’s and received SSI benefits because of these disorders.  Bob mostly kept to himself while at Harrington Hall and didn’t participate much in case management.   He told me during the day there weren’t many places he could be at and didn’t like the downtown Providence area because there was too much trouble, so he would often go to Garden City. He would buy lunch in order to be able to stay and not be kicked out.  He stated a lot of his monthly income was spent just doing that.  Bob doesn’t appear to have any drug or alcohol issues and didn’t enjoy being around people who suffered from addictions.   In January of 2014, I met Bob and approached him about the ACCESS to HOPE program.  At first he was hesitant because he didn’t want to have a roommate, didn’t want to live in Providence and some other surrounding cities.  I asked him where he would like to live if he could live anywhere in Rhode Island, “Narragansett” he stated.  I let the Property Manager know this and they started to look for a place in this area.  Bob grew up in this area, loves the beach and loves to bike ride.   House of Hope Property Management located an apartment in Narragansett and I brought Bob to go see it, he loved it right away.  Bob moved in on February 28, 2014.  At first I met with Bob weekly to make sure he was adjusting to living out there on...

Fred’s Story

Fred moved into a three-bedroom apartment at the end of February 2014.   Fred had lived at Harrington Hall for over a year, and for the last several months worked full time at a warehouse leaving the shelter by 5am to get to work on time.   Fred has had some substance abuse history, stopped using cocaine/crack in 2006 but has struggled with alcohol ever since. He has had years of sobriety at one time but more recently, relapses every few months or so which often jeopardizes his employment.   Fred relapsed on alcohol soon after he moved into housing.  Fred moved into his apartment first and didn’t have roommates for about a month or so.  He reported that he “missed the shelter” and struggled with those feelings because he thought they were silly.  He said even though he didn’t speak to many people there he knew people were still around and it was comforting.   Fred detoxed himself and got back on track and was able to talk his employer into keeping him.  Fred felt since this detox was so difficult, that would keep him away from relapsing again.  Fred was not interested in counseling or seeing a doctor and felt he could keep himself sober based on how horrible he felt while detoxing.   Fred reported feeling better, he got roommates and they seemed to get along pretty well.  After about six weeks, Fred relapsed again for about 1 week.  This time, Fred wasn’t so lucky had his employer let him go.   His two roommates, very concerned about his well being, asked to speak to him...