There are so many amazing organizations serving people who are suffering from homelessness. In Baltimore, Maryland, I got to spend several hours at one of those organizations. Earl’s Place is a transitional home for 17 men who have suffered from addiction and homelessness. Clean and sober housing that allows its residents to stay for up to two years and provides case management, Earl’s Place allows the men who live there to actively work on their recovery and their health, slowly piecing their lives back together, in a safe, supportive environment.
I was honored to be able to come in and see this program in action, and meet the beautiful people who help to run it. I sat there in the common room with the executive director, the case manager, the house manager, a volunteer, and several of the residents, and we talked about all the complicated parts of homelessness and addiction that none of us have the answer to. We talked about nonprofits, and the government, and the community, and we talked about different approaches to solving problems, like housing first models, or clean and sober models. We talked about the struggles of life on the streets and in shelters, and how difficult it is becoming to get people transitioned into stable housing with rent prices increasing so drastically in cities across the country. We talked about drugs, and alcohol, and mental illness, and falling down in life so far that you are unsure if you will ever be able to pick yourself up.
We talked about saying hello. In the end, we all ended up admitting we really don’t have the answers; we don’t know how to “fix” homelessness. But, looking around the room, it was impossible not to notice how good it felt to be having the conversation with a group of people all coming from a place of loving compassion.
For the next week, I’ll be profiling some of the staff of Earl’s Place, and sharing some stories from many of the residents there. I hope they touch your heart as much they touched mine.
You can read more about Earl’s Place at www.earlsplace.org
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