A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIRWOMAN
November 9, 2017
A story was once told by ABC’s founder and CEO, Ted Williams, of an encounter he had while helping with the annual point-in-time street count required by HUD.
Jane (not her real name) had set up her camp behind a high cluster of bushes lining one side of a vacant parking lot. After Mr. Williams interviewed her, he thanked Jane for her time and indicated that he was ready to leave. She responded with “let me show you out” and proceeded to escort him across the parking lot. Jane would become a participant in ABC’s program but forever etched in Mr. Williams’ mind would be the dignity with which she handled her situation. This hideaway in the bushes, for a time, had become her HOME.
And again, of John (not his real name), who repeatedly got arrested for simply trying to survive on the streets. The folks at Maricopa County Memorial Center, desiring to help him, contacted Mr. Williams. John was able to obtain housing through ABC and received the customary “starter kit” upon moving into his unit which contained, among other practical items, a blow up mattress. But it was soon discovered that John wasn’t using his mattress and instead would go sleep in the parking lot because it felt more familiar and less confined. Over time, John learned to sleep in his unit but would still lay directly on the tile floor rather than on his mattress. It took some time before he would grow comfortable enough in his surroundings to do what so many of us take for granted, sleep on a bed.
The faces of those experiencing homelessness are varied but one thing is certain, every person has a story.
Join us as we begin sharing some of those stories with you…
~Dr. Deborah Gross