Good morning

One Monday morning, we were greeted by a voice mail left on our answering machine. It was a message from a woman in Washington, who said, “Thank you for all you do for my brother. We didn’t know our brother was homeless until we came to visit last weekend.
We spent two days with him. It was a wonderful experience to go to Julia West House. We came with him to Julia West House and were very comforted by the way you cared for him. The family is working on changing things for our brother. We wanted to let you know. We wanted to say ‘Thank you.’”

One phone call came from Rhode Island. “Thank you for everything you did to help me when I was out there.” It was a young man in his twenties, who had been a regular at Julia West for a couple of years.
When we knew him, he was living outside, engaging in self-destructive behavior. He had been a graphic artist and had a good eye for design. In fact, he had a freelance business going, creating cardboard signs for other people to “fly” when panhandling on the sidewalks or off-ramps.
After we established a trusting relationship, we helped him reconnect with his family in New England. We worked with him and urged him to return to his family. We helped him finally leave Portland to go back east. We helped him pack meals for his long bus ride home.
He was calling from Rhode Island to tell us he had reunited with his family and friends, was working in graphic design, and had turned his life around.
Other phone calls come from across the street. When Ricky found Julia West, he was staying in a mission. We helped him reconnect with his daughter and family. We helped him get into the DePaul Addiction Recovery program.
He kept in touch, first with letters, then phone calls, then visits as he progressed through the six- month program. We attended his graduation from DePaul.
He is now employed. He volunteered at Julia West as his schedule allowed. He has moved on, but we still see him. He comes by just to let us know he’s doing OK.