A Safe Haven
During our 25th anniversary this year, we are republishing stories from our past. This article was originally published in the Project HOME newsletter in June 1992.
“God has been very good to me, and Project HOME has been very good to me. It is a haven, a home for all the men here. We are blessed.”
So said Thomas “Hopper” Edmunds, on the occasion of our recent second anniversary celebration at the Diamond Street Transitional Residence. [NOTE: That building is today our Hope Haven I permanent residence.] If anyone knows the spirit of Project HOME, it is Hopper. A resident at our very first makeshift winter shelter back in 1989, Hopper was also one of the men who urged us to continue. He and others challenged us to grow, to do whatever was necessary to provide the services that could really make a difference in the lives of many homeless men and women whom everyone else had given up on. In June of 1990, a dozen men from our shelters, along with our staff and supporters, took the initial steps toward meeting that challenge – we opened Diamond Street, and our “continuum of care” began to take shape.
Little did we anticipate what shape our work would take. Even in the past year, the growth of Project HOME has been dizzying, as we have added new programs, residences, and resources. Encouraged by the growing network of supporters, an energetic and committed staff, and the hope-filled lives of our homeless brothers and sisters, we have stretched to meet more needs and challenges.
We are hardly naïve about the struggles we have faced and will continue to face. Homelessness continues to sap the human spirit, and, with ever scarcer resources to help them, many of our homeless sisters and brothers sink deeper into addiction, despair, and alienation. Recent state welfare cuts are sure to swell the ranks of the homeless. Continuing neighborhood opposition to programs, renewed threats of municipal laws to force people off the streets, not to mention the appalling lack of concern from many public officials and candidates in an election year – all of these make it painfully clear that challenges lay ahead.
Yet we persevere, all of us, as the numbers grow, slowly but surely, of those who believe in a different way. We make progress, even in the midst of storms and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
We all need a haven – whether it’s from the streets or from the often difficult and discouraging spirit of our times. Over the past year, that haven has expanded for all of us, pulling more people ion, providing, shelter, hope, and strength for the road ahead.