John walked into the office holding a piece of paper over his head like Rocky’s fight belt. It was the letter confirming he was getting his own apartment after being homeless for more than six months.
When he sat down, the tears came. They were tears of joy, relief, and sorrow. Returning to a private, safe place to live assured him that he was back in charge of his own life. The relief of getting out of the shelter and mass of people that he slept around every night was a positive change.
The tears were also in anticipation of being alone without his beloved wife, who died in January and was the change-event that plunged him into the world of being a 65-year-old homeless veteran. He expressed his concern about being alone with his grief for the first time.
Any change, even a positive change, can be hard. For someone who has spent the several months or even years living in a day-to-day existence, staying in housing can be more than they can navigate without support.
The circumstances, choices, or conditions that resulted in an individual becoming homeless can reoccur.
When a member moves into housing, Justa Center changes from being a day resource center to an Extended Care Program where housed members can receive additional support through the Ambassadors.
The all-volunteer team of Ambassadors make over 200 visits every month to drop off a bag of groceries and conduct wellness checks. This opens the door for Justa Center to see how a member is doing in their living situation.
Ambassadors are often the first to know when a member is dealing with a significant physical or mental health crisis, is struggling with memory issues, or in a situation where someone may be taking advantage of them. These visits have helped over 90% of our members to successfully remain in housing.