Stories from the Basement

Stories from the Basement #1

by Donna Clark RN, Director

I’d like to tell you about a gentleman whom I have known since 1999. I first met him sitting on the steps of a local strip mall, bleeding from having been beaten, and he was terrified. He wouldn’t talk to me, let me touch him, or even pray with him. Over the years I followed him, gradually gained a sense of trust and was able to guide him to mental health care creating the first steps toward stability. Over the years he remained homeless and was a vulnerable target to those in the community who preyed on such persons.

He has suffered physical and mental abuse and has been taken advantage of by those who claimed to be his “friend”. Over time I was able to get him to health care and he recently was diagnosed with diabetes, kidney failure, and cataracts. This past winter a “friend” allowed him to sleep on their porch with no heat and he was not allowed to come in from the weather until 9 PM. If the family entered a fight he was forced out into the weather with no warning.

In February he had a stroke and was hospitalized for 2 weeks. During that time the “friend” took his Food Stamp card and never returned it. For two weeks after his discharge he wandered the streets afraid to return to his previous environment. Things began to improve in his life when we helped him receive his Social Security Disability. He is able to afford housing and is now in a safe comfortable apartment and under the care of an agency, Friendship Network that provides case management and monitors him closely. When he comes to the office he is a different man who looks rested and calmer than I have ever seen before. His health has stabilized and we are even seeing an improvement. He states he has never been able to live like this before and he feels like a king.

The support of our community churches has allowed the staff of H.O.P.E., Inc. to reach those who would normally slide through the cracks of society and suffer for long periods of time. We are able to provide guidance to health care, emotional support, and spiritual support to all who enter our doors. Thank you and God bless you.