Carlton’s Story

Carleton Freese grew up in Rhode Island and studied music at URI. After school he had a successful career in entertainment, and by 2002 he was making good money and saving for retirement. Then the onset of an inherited disease attacking his heart disrupted his plans for the future. He lost his job, insurance, and eventually his apartment before more diagnoses revealed cancer, diabetes, and the looming necessity of a heart transplant. Two huge factors stood 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.


After his recovery, Carleton used his gift for public speaking to raise awareness about homelessness in Rhode Island. He spoke for Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless and shared House of Hope’s goal to end homelessness in Rhode Island. In late 2016 he passed away and left a legacy of characteristic humor and advocacy for homeless people and medical care for the uninsured.