Showing posts from October, 2011

"I Was Petrified"

"When I first came here I was petrified. Worried. Scared. I didn't know what to expect. I was rushed into a sea of people. I'd never been homeless before." "I didn't like it; lines, no privacy, constantly waiting. I had to go with the flow. I had never experienced anything like this before. I was scared. I didn't know all these people around me." "Then I decided to embrace it; not give in. I started living, relaxing, making friends, putting in applications. It started happening. It wasn't that scary. I joined the community. They cared, they accepted me." 
"I started enjoying myself and the people who surrounded me."
"Now look at me! Close to moving. That initial fear of many people, is now a fear of being alone in my own crib. I fear a loss of fellowship, community and friendship. I need others, but I need my own place too." "It's time. I'm ready. But what can I do?"  ....................…

Chief Survivor

Bumped into "Chief" the other day. This Native American man has been homeless in Uptown for 37 years! Yes, 37 years! That's since he was just a mere 13 year old boy; it all began just after his mother died and he had no place to go, except to the rugged streets of Uptown.

One of my earliest memories of Chief happened about 12 years ago, he came into our facility to eat a hot meal at our "dinner guest" program. It was deathly cold and he was wearing a relatively new overly-sized green trench-coat, so he begged me for something that fitted him; I found him a very nice brand new "Blackhawks" jacket. He was elated. Even though I repeatedly declined, Chief adamantly insisted I keep this trench-coat for myself, it was far too big and long for him. He won the argument and I still wear it every winter; it's one piece of clothing many people frequently covet. If he had worn it, that coat would now be in absolute tatters from the bottom dragging in our…

Defying The Odds: some outstanding accomplishments!

Over the years, we have been privileged to witness many wonderful people defy the odds. They came to Cornerstone, once living on the street and without an income. These people are, deemed by many, as hopeless or "without hope", yet they defied the odds and accomplished the unthinkable; they managed to overcome adversity, get an income and are now living in an apartment. 

This may be not seem like an outstanding accomplishment, because housing should be every human's basic right. But to some, simply moving from chronic homelessness to housed is an amazingly difficult struggle. They need to be honored for all their effort and dedication, yet it also takes a combination of numerous factors, agencies and people, networking together for the same person. We, at Cornerstone, have been privileged to play a role in helping them accomplish their goals.

Here's a Link to our "Successful Movement" photo album on Cornerstone's Facebook page: Successful Movement.....


He Isn't Ready Yet.

He struts up to me....

"Jeremy, I need a bus pass, Sandy told me to get one from you!"  (she didn't say that)

"sorry, we haven't got any right now!"

Now I've known this 24 year old for about 12 years. I've seen him grow up, he's been in the Joint a couple times and now he's on parole.

After going back and forth whether anyone has cards, I change the subject...

"you better slow down!"

"what ya mean?!"

"you better slow down with what you're doing out there on Wilson!"

"I ain't doing nothing out there!"

"oh yes you are!"

"what am I doing?" 

"you want me to tell you in front of this group of people? The guys that surrounded us were some my homeless clients; they didn't know this young man and were all drug-free!

"yeah! Go ahead, I ain't doing nothing, go ahead, tell me what I'm doing out there"

"ok; you asked me too, I know you're selling marijuana t…