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...

Ted’s Story

Ted had been homeless for almost 4 years before he was placed in a 3-bedroom apartment in Providence April 1, 2014.   I met Ted at Harrington Hall in January, he had long straggly hair, hadn’t shaved in quite sometime and answered questions with “Yes” or “No” without much other dialog.  Ted was hesitant when I approached him about ACCESS to HOPE but eventually agreed to fill out an application and get the process going.   One obvious feature on Ted when someone saw him was a protruding hernia that he had for over 20 years.  When I asked him if he would like me to help him connect to services for the surgery he stated, “No, a lot can happen when you are put under for surgery”.  Ted self reports that he is schizophrenic and bipolar, two other areas he did not wish to address when I first met him at Harrington Hall.   Ted did not like the first apartment he saw; he felt it was “too modern”, however he loved the second one.  Ted had his first months rent, his security and money for his furniture all on the day of his move in.  At first I met with Ted and his two other roommates every week at their apartment.   One day Ted caught me off guard stating “I am having surgery for my hernia, the surgery will be soon”.  Ted took it upon himself to look into who would be best to do his surgery, getting the appointment and going to it himself.  The following week, Ted stated to me “I am having my...

Abby’s Story

Dear Friends, Ending homelessness is hard, but we know how to do it. For nearly a quarter of a century, House of Hope CDC has helped hundreds of women, men, and children find homes and reclaim their lives. Abby’s story is one example. DURING the worst years, Abby couldn’t have imagined being where she is now, cooking pumpkin muffins in her fastidiously neat apartment in the George Galen Wheeler House, opened last year in Warwick by House of Hope. The contrast with the long period when she slept in basements and vacant houses still haunts her. “I was considered a disposable person, a throwaway person,” Abby says. NO ONE is born to be homeless. Abby was 5 when her father, a policeman, died of cancer. She, her brother, and sister were often left alone by their mother. Men would come by and take little Abby for “rides.” When she was 12, a man living with her mother began sexually abusing her. After four years, Abby found the courage to tell her mother. You’re a liar, her mother said. She moved in with a high school friend. After graduation, a promising career as a restaurant manager soured quickly. She befriended the wrong people; drank and took drugs; and lost one job after another. Disastrously, she turned to stealing, for example, posing as a doughnut store supervisor, and then leaving with the receipts. She always got caught, and she felt relieved to be back in prison. But when her term ended, the cycle began again. ABBY came to House of Hope during a prison work release job. Right away, she realized...
Marion

Marion

Marion Brooks and her family were evicted shortly after she divorced her husband of 19 years. Following the eviction, Marion and her two children spent several holidays at the Rhode Island Family Shelter in Warwick. They faced repulsed looks from onlookers at the bus stop, work, and school. “When they found out we were homeless, they didn’t want anything to do with us. We lived in the shelter.”   With the help of House of Hope, Marion found an apartment, and her kids were able to become involved in school through House of Hope’s Youth Rap program. Youth Rap took them seal watching in Narragansett Bay and to the Boston science museum. The program also helped pay for her son Stephen’s little league fees and for her daughter Tiffany’s prom dress. Youth Rap provided Marion’s children with the support they needed.   Tiffany Brooks, now 24, graduated from Pilgrim High School in Warwick and won several gold medals in the Special Olympics. Stephen Brooks, 20, is a versatile athlete and a tech-savvy “nerd.” He won honors for his senior project at Warwick Veterans Memorial High School in which he envisioned placing solar panels at the Apponaug fire station. He will be graduating from the New England Institute of Technology in the spring of 2015. Marion Brooks is proud of her children and what they have achieved with the help and support from House of Hope....

Maureen G’s Story

With a successful nursing career lost to drugs and depression, Maureen G. came to House of Hope CDC in November of 2011 after completing a substance abuse recovery program with Amos House. While with us, she worked tirelessly with her case manager, Lynne Porreca to get her life back together and start the next chapter of her journey. She earned her Food Safety Manager Certificate, completed a national disaster-training program and volunteered with Salvation Army seasonally as a “Bell Ringer.”   Through her commitment to volunteering, she gained employment with Salvation Army in June of 2012. This new employment position has brought her, of all places to Harrington Hall, serving meals from the Salvation Army food truck. All told, she is now serving nearly 800 meals each week in her community. Maureen continues to spread the message of recovery with her peers and is sharing her story of accomplishment; overcoming a chemical addiction, retraining herself for a new career, and overcoming obstacles to living independently with her new neighbors at House of Hope’s George Galen Wheeler House in Pawtuxet Village.   Today, Maureen is proud of her accomplishments and thanks House of Hope for not just stopping at putting a roof over her head, but for giving her the skills and the courage to make a new and better life for herself. “Today, I’m a much more confident person, thanks to House of Hope,” she says. “Peace and contentment – that’s what the future holds for me. I was never content, I always wanted more and more. The funny thing is, now I’m living on the bare minimum, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m grateful for what I have.” Holding back tears, she adds, “House of...

Pam’s Story

To see Pam today, you would never know the ordeal and the difficult hurdles she has faced. She is positive, upbeat, cheerful, and eager to talk to you about her journey to housing. But Pam describes her past self as passive, timid and with a very low self- image, especially as she compares herself to her college-graduate twin brother. After years of an alcohol addiction and “always trying to get away with things,” Pam found herself homeless at the age of 61. With no income and the additional barriers her age presented her in finding employment, she entered emergency shelter in House of Hope CDC’s Operation First Step shelter for women. There, she says, she had to stand on her own two feet. Accustomed to seeking others to do things for her, she now had to learn to navigate systems herself, advocate for her own needs, and take her life into her own hands. Her case manager Lynne, was a support and cheerleader for her, but would often hang back and give Pam the opportunity to come out of her shell and work toward her own accomplishments. As Pam took charge of her own life and her sobriety, her self-esteem and self-confidence grew. She also knew that she couldn’t keep relying on others; if she was going to get housed, she was going to have to do some real work.   While at First Step, Pam enrolled in the House of Hope Boutique Sewing 101 program. This supported employment program provides a six week training program where participants not only learn a craft-centered skill, they also learn the soft...