Although our shelters are dormant during the warmer months, we continue to work on behalf of our guests. Many of them—especially those who are unable to find an apartment or fall back on family and friends—continue to weave through our lives during the spring and summer. PACEM Case Manager, Adriana Nicholson, shares the story of one such guest:
Gary stayed with PACEM all of last season. During his stay we made a referral to a local clinic with whom we partner. Gary’s check-up revealed that he had a few minor health issues he needed to address. I walked with him through the process of testing and then helped him understand his new medicines.
We also worked on his barriers to housing. Like most of our guests, employment was the biggest hurdle. Gary kept looking for a regular job, yet it seemed he just couldn’t catch a break. He kept filing application after application, and each time was turned down. The odd jobs he did get ended in only part time hours, never amounting for enough for him to get his own place. Through it all, Gary was not discouraged.
When PACEM closed for the season, Gary went to stay with some friends. Every morning he would join me for breakfast at the Haven and tell me his plan for the day. Those plans always included a job search. In June, Gary’s diligence finally paid off. Not only did he find a good job, but his employer had a room he was willing to let him stay in!
Fast forward to today…Gary and I still have breakfast every few weeks. He is working full time for his employer and paying for his room. Gary also works a second part time job to make ends meet and has a little extra spending money.
Gary is a perfect example of hope. He is always smiling and has a kind word to say to everyone he meets. He works hard to keep things together and do the best he can. I asked him recently if he thought he would need the assistance of PACEM this winter. His answer: “by the grace of God, no. But I know PACEM is there if I need you all.”