Meet Barbara and Mark! This couple of 27 years have experienced homelessness off and on since 2017. They lived in the same RI apartment for 11 years until the building was sold. The new owners raised the rent, forcing them to move. They lived in another apartment for a year and a half until Barbara fell down the stairs due to a faulty railing that their landlord refused to fix. After leaving that untenable situation, they stayed on and off at the now closed St. Paul’s Episcopal Church shelter. As of May 2023, Barbara and Mark have been living outside for 12 consecutive months.
Barbara and Mark began coming to House of Hope CDC’s Shower to Empower Truck when the shower truck is parked at our partner Project Weber/RENEW in Pawtucket. That’s where they landed on our radar, and a relationship began to blossom. They quickly became favorites of our outreach team. They are known for being so easy to talk to, so funny, and so down to earth no matter what life throws at them. Our case managers collaborated with Project Weber/RENEW staff members to assist them in any way we could, and they became a regular part of our stops in Pawtucket outreach.
House of Hope CDC regularly incorporates doctors, medical students, and other medical professionals in our outreach programs – allowing people to access medical care like ultrasounds and blood work in non-standard conditions. These collaborations allow those we serve to receive medical care they would otherwise never access. For clients like Mark who have chronic health issues, the medical teams can even provide specialized equipment. For example, Mark has had mobility issues in the last few weeks, and one amazing volunteer physician was able to get a walker with a seat to him in under 24 hours!
Fortunately, Barbara and Mark have been accepted with Crossroads Rapid Rehousing and are starting the process of finding an apartment. They asked and received character reference letters from their House of Hope CDC case manager, the physician they met through House of Hope CDC’s medical partnerships, and a Project Weber/RENEW staff member they know through House of Hope CDC’s Shower to Empower program. They got their reference letters back from each person within 24 hours – a speed that rarely happens and shows how special they are. Alongside our partners*, House of Hope CDC staff are privileged to know and aid Barbara and Mark and to walk beside them on their journey through life.
*Special thanks in this story go to our Shower to Empower partners like Project Weber/RENEW and our medical volunteers!