Mary has been coming to Charlie’s Place for breakfast for over two years. She brings her heavy bags in at 6:30 am, and sits on the right side of the room, by herself. Mary always has a smile on her face and asks how the staff is doing. Mary always says “good morning” and “thank you”. Mary always does this, despite the fact that she is homeless, and forsaken by her family. Mary is like many of our clients; Mary’s story is not unique or strange. Mary just needs a bit of help.
For cases like Mary’s we have the Case Management Program. We at Charlie’s Place attempt to assist any client who is willing to go through the process with job searches, trainings, housing, rehab, and family re-unification. Mary expressed a desire to enter the Case Management Program a few weeks ago. It was her wish to be housed “before the weather turns bad in winter”. She expected the process to be long and tortuous with her finally being placed in a small transitional shelter in “November or December”. She expected the worst case scenario and how could she not? Mary had been homeless since 1991 and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her daughter kicked her out of her apartment and has been using her disability benefits illegally. Everything in her past had informed her that even if the future bought a positive change, it would be slow to come and only short term. When I informed her that I had a perfectplace for her, a permanent housing program with her own room, a kitchen and a secure living environment, Mary just look at me blankly. “You aren’t lying to me are you Matt”? I shook my head and showed her the housing application. As soon as her paperwork’s finished, Mary will move into permanent housing and will be off of the streets for the first time in over two decades.
Case Management is but one of the ways we help our clients at Charlie’s Place
Lorenzo is a young man in his 20’s from a chaotic family background. He wears dreadlocks and applies bandaids with bible verses under his eyes. He is always equipped with a ready smile. “I graduated with a 3.4 average and really wanted to do well in school. I came to DC for a girl, but we broke up”. Lorenzo lost his multiple low paid jobs and became homeless. He says, “I always look forward to coming to Charlie’s Place, it’s a privilege to come here, it’s a sanctuary”. Lorenzo is a gifted artist, and neighbors and visitors see him often, twirling his beautiful, handmade signs in Dupont Circle.