Patient Stories

A.J.

The Day that Homelessness Ended

Two years ago, A.J.  took the batteries out of his clock to mark one of the most precious moments of his life. Today, that clock is on the wall of his studio apartment, still frozen at 2:30 p.m., the moment the formerly homeless man moved into his first home in 30 years.

Today, A.J. is happy, healthy and housed, thanks to the lifesaving work of our nurses, doctors  and case managers at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.  And it's your support that makes this critical work possible.

It wasn't that long ago that A.J., who sought comfort in drugs and alcohol after enduring a very  tough childhood, wandered the streets alone for three decades , never making eye contact with passersby or seeking help. One morning he awoke with excruciating pain, and knew something was terribly wrong. He had nowhere to turn, no one to ask for help.  He remembered hearing about our Barbara McInnis House helping people in need.  He realized this was his only hope. He struggled to walk for three and a half hours to our South End location, Jean Yawkey Place, at 780 Albany Street, where he was immediately admitted into our medical respite facility, the Barbara McInnis House.

And there the healing began. Our providers and clinicians  treated his behavioral health and medical needs – including his long-standing Hepatitis C infection-- and cared for him with  kindness, respect and dignity. He was fitted with a new pair of dentures at our dental clinic and received  his first Christmas gift in many years – a backpack stuffed with toiletries, socks and other necessities -- gifts that our supporters so generously donate and package each holiday season for our patients.

With the help of a BHCHP case manager, A.J. secured a studio apartment and today he treasures his domestic routines: reading books – two to three a week –tending his vegetable and flower gardens, and talking to his neighbors.  “BHCHP saved my life,” says A.J. “From the doctors and nurses to the maintenance workers to the guy in the kitchen who made sure I always had my special protein shakes.”

A.J. is eternally grateful  for his new life. We thank him for sharing his story and we thank you for enabling us to save people like A.J. We couldn't do it without your support!