In Pain and With Nowhere to Go, Homeless Patients Find Respite in a Writing Group


In Justin Devlin’s stories, his pain is the villain. He is the superhero in a wheelchair, kicking his illness to the curb, sentencing his constant pain to a lifetime behind bars.

Writing “takes me away from the physical pain and the emotional pain. It gives me an escape,” said Devlin, who has a progressive genetic condition that limits his mobility.

Devlin puts his ideas to paper during the weekly meeting of a creative writing group here at the Barbara McInnis House, a medical respite facility that provides care for homeless people who are too sick to live in a shelter, but not sick enough to stay in an expensive hospital bed. Every Monday night, volunteers sit with any resident who wants to write.