Last December, Cheryl was homeless and struggling with opioid addiction. And most painfully, she had lost custody of her 7-year-old daughter Lilly, forbidden even from calling her to wish her Merry Christmas and to say, “I love you.”
A lot can happen in a year. Today, Cheryl is in recovery, has stable housing, and is working hard to regain full custody of Lilly. And she’s counting the days until the pair take a Christmas eve train ride to New Hampshire’s “North Pole” on the Polar Express, bake cookies for Santa, have a sleepover, then open presents and eat brunch with Lilly’s grandparents.
Everyone at our Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s Barbara McInnis House knows Claire. She is a slight, quiet woman, with dark, nearly black hair whose bangs rest on her brow. Claire is known for her beautiful origami creations, which she gives to staff and patients as an expression of her friendship and gratitude. When she first arrived at BMH, her fear of elevators and extreme introversion made it quite challenging for Claire, especially when she needed to travel back and forth to chemotherapy and radiation treatments at neighboring Boston Medical Center. As time went on, Claire began to realize that, in her words, she “did not have to be scared at the Barbara McInnis House” because she receives the care and compassion she needs here.
An act of senseless violence ends with dignity and compassionate care
In August of 2015, the vicious attack of a sleeping homeless man in Boston by two brothers hit news outlets across the country. Fueled by anti-immigration sentiments, the men beat long-time BHCHP patient, Guillermo, 58 years old and barely 5 feet tall. Guillerrmo has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for many years. Through the kindness of people like you, Guillermo’s story does not end with violence and hatred, but with compassion, healing, dignity, and hope.
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.
After a broken ankle led Joyce to be out of work in Atlanta where she had lived for 10 years, she lost everything - her apartment, her car, and most of her belongings. With a plane ticket paid for by a local ministry, Joyce returned to her native Boston. She moved in with her sister, but after only a week her sister was evicted from her apartment. With no place to go and still recovering from her injury and ankle surgery, Joyce came to the Barbara McInnis House.
Dasha is a big fan of BHCHP’s HIV Team. She loves her provider, Physician Assistant Carole Hohl, and she’s been getting her health care with us for over 10 years. Beyond the primary care she receives here, which is customized to include treatment and management for HIV and transgender care, Dasha utilizes BHCHP’s pharmacy, dental clinic, Behavioral Health, and Case Management programs.
Living in a motel is not a vacation. Families are crammed into one room, with no kitchen, no place for children to play or do homework, and no privacy. Day in and day out. “Marguerite” knows this reality very well. She has been living in a motel near Boston with her 14-year old son, “Nicolas”, and her 1-year old daughter, “Sophie”.
They were roommates at Barbara McInnis House, BHCHP's 104-bed respite care facility for homeless adults with complex conditions like cancer, heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes. If Barbara McInnis House did not exist, these two men, who were both too sick for shelters or the streets, would require prolonged and costly hospitalization in the acute care rooms of Boston's hospitals.