Bonnie came to us for a second time in July. She had complaints of arthritis which affected her mobility, as well as a couple of mental health diagnoses, a history of domestic violence, and a past of substance abuse.
Bonnie was taking care of her mom full time which began to affect Bonnie more and more. It seemed that she was losing hope with each passing day. Eventually the stress of being homeless, disabled, and caring for her mother became too much. Bonnie relapsed after 4 years of sobriety and was exited from Hospitality House for substance use in November.
Bonnie came back to Hospitality House to pick up her mail a few times after her exit. She told us she was getting sober again, but it was a process. To top it off, her belongings being stored in her car had gotten wet and mildewed, so she was low on clothing, funds, and toiletries. Bonnie told staff, “I hit rock bottom, but the only place I can go now is up. I’m going to keep trying.”
As you know, we have been working with a Rapid Rehousing pilot program. Once a resident leaves Hospitality House, they don’t automatically exit the RRH program. Luckily, Bonnie had been established with the RRH Case Manager before she left Hospitality House and they were able to continue their work together. In February, three months after her relapse, Bonnie and her RRH Case Manager shared the best news we could have received: Bonnie found help to get back on the path to sobriety, she moved into her own apartment, and she would be receiving rental assistance for life!
Our hopes for our residents don’t end when they leave Hospitality House, or even when they find housing. A relapse can happen at any moment, or a health crisis, or a pandemic. We hope that each resident can take the tools they’ve learned here at Hospitality House to rise as high as they can. To arm themselves with knowledge so they are prepared for what comes next. To ask for help when it matters most. Bonnie didn’t find housing during her time here, but she found her strength and power within herself to keep pushing forward. Now she gets to reap the benefits of her hard work, and we get to celebrate her.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
-Still I Rise