I have worked at Connections for the Homeless for a little over 6-1/2 years and have known "Adam" for that entire time. He has been a long-time user of our Drop-In program, quietly (very quietly) coming in to do laundry and take a shower and grabbing a lunch. He rarely would talk to anyone and, being a bigger guy, when he kept to himself, most people took his cue and left him alone. Every once in awhile, the staff would try to get him to talk, but he was very reserved.
I always wondered why he kept to himself and didn't ask for much of anything. Maybe he had stopped hoping. Maybe he assumed that his past record would shut him out of future opportunities. Maybe he was just too tired from surviving outside that he gave up on reaching out to people. This fall, our Supportive Housing staff met with the participants in Drop-In because Connections had received some additional funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and "Adam" attended. If you remember, HUD stopped funding Hilda's Place Shelter and other transitional shelters and switched their funding priorities to increase the number of Supportive Housing units throughout the country. "Adam" was told about the program, and he decided to apply.
Whatever the past reasons were, when the funding was available and the staff approached him, "Adam" was willing to try and hope. He has been coming to Drop-In most Monday and Wednesday afternoons since that meeting in October, and he's had many phone conversations where he's been told to keep hoping - that we had the money and just needed to find a landlord to work with us. This past week, he got the call saying that we had an apartment for him, and he was actually able to move in to his new home. For the first time in 6-½ years, I was able to see "Adam" smile.