Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meet Mark and Joanie

Meet Mark and Joanie, recent Graduates of the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Their story proves that the path to homelessness is complex – no one decision or circumstance led directly to their homelessness. However, a series of events over time resulted in an almost unavoidable outcome.

Mark lost his job of 12 years at the same time his elderly mother needed extra help. Joanie’s job as a home health worker was inconsistent, and her own health problems sometimes made it difficult to work. She longed to finish college for a more stable career. But there was no time to pursue more education and training. They were just trying to keep up. 

The roof in their apartment began to leak and it was no longer livable. They found themselves faced with impossible decisions – pitch in financially and physically to help his mother, or resort to nursing home care? Move to an unsafe neighborhood to save on rent, or move in with family in the suburbs but pay more to commute to work? Seek needed medical care and pay out of pocket, or ignore serious health problems and hope they will resolve themselves?

Transportation, healthcare, and housing costs continued to pile up until Mark and Joanie reached a breaking point and were faced with the most difficult decision – moving into a shelter.

After living separately in different shelters, and periods of time living together on the streets, they finally found LPCS.
Even though they both were working, they hadn’t been able to accumulate enough savings and stabilize enough to move into housing again. “At other shelters, people used to ask ‘if you have a job, why not an apartment?’ It is not that simple to move, you need enough money for deposit, rent, and security.”

They didn’t want to hurriedly move and then be susceptible again to circumstances outside their control, like a layoff or illness. During more than 18 months at LPCS, Mark and Joanie were able to address neglected health concerns, secure steady employment, save money, and eventually take the final step in rebuilding their lives by moving into their own apartment in September.

At LPCS we understand that just like the path to homelessness, the path out of homelessness is also complex. We are able to approach each individual situation with a unique set of resources and guidance that truly helps Guests remove barriers and rebuild their lives one step at a time. Many Guests are in Mark and Joanie’s situation – a quarter already have some steady income, but not enough to afford rent; nearly 70% have some college education; many have consistent work and housing histories; most need support on multiple fronts to help put their lives back together. Our programs work consistently to succeed in helping 70% of Guests move back into stable, permanent housing after their stay at LPCS.

Mark and Joanie’s success, that that of all our Guests, is due to your direct support. LPCS is completely privately funded and we rely on your continued support to keep helping Guests like Mark and Joanie – and hundreds of others each year – take the steps they need to leave homelessness behind. Please make your gift today.

Many thanks,

Erin Ryan, Executive Director

Exciting News! You can now double your donation! An anonymous donor will match any new or increased gift, up to $10,000! Help us meet the challenge and finish 2012 on a strong note!