Last week at staff meeting our Executive Director gave a very exciting announcement. One of our residents, Joseph, had gotten the keys to his new apartment. Joseph is a veteran, and served in the US Marine Corps for a number of years. In 1983, Joseph was in Beirut during the infamous bombing of the barracks. Joseph narrowly missed being terribly injured or killed, but the psychological damage he incurred lasted for 25 years. After many of the men he had served with for years were killed in the bombing, Joseph had a hard time coping and began to self medicate. His addiction to drugs affected his life for years, but it was not the cause if his homelessness. He was living and working at an apartment complex, and when he was laid off almost two years ago, Joseph’s only option was the street. He continued his drug use and survived by staying in emergency shelters. He was admitted to the Gateway Center veteran’s program through a referral from the VA, and boy what a journey it has been. In the year and a half Joseph has been at the Gateway Center he has taken advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. He was one of the first graduates of the Gateway Center’s Cullinary Program, and now works in the GWC kitchen as an intern.
And last Friday night, Joseph slept in his own apartment. For the first time in years, Joseph has a place to call his own. The one thing that stood out about the announcement at staff meeting was the comment our Director made about Joseph’s success. “Whether you were his case manager, someone who encouraged him along the way, or the person who made the copies of his intake forms- you had a part in Joseph’s success”, he said. And its true. Every single one of the Gateway Center employees and volunteers, no matter what task we do, big or small, has a hand in the success of ending homelessness- one client at a time.
And the same is true for our supporters. Whether you tutor kids at the Gateway Center every week, donate $5 or $5,000…whatever you do to support the community and clients of the Gateway Center- you make the keys in Joseph’s hand possible. As our Executive Director always says- you hold the key to ending homelessness!