Help From an Angel

Ben Story Graphic June 2022

Sometimes accepting a “hand up” takes a little longer than usual. Ben’s story is one of perseverance and a testament to the dedication HSI staff has for our clients.

Ben has been a familiar face at the shelter over the years, going in and out of the program several times while contending with a long history of alcoholism and mental illness. He has been street homeless numerous times, and during his last period of displacement suffered a traumatic brain injury which led to a coma.

When other shelter guests became worried for his well-being during his most recent time on the streets, they made staff aware of his status and asked for help. Staff were able to find Ben and help him reconnect with services. Ben was then readmitted into the shelter and two months later, he was selected to participate in our Permanent Supportive Housing Program, which provides chronically homeless individuals with a permanent housing subsidy. In April 2022, Ben officially secured housing with his voucher and moved into his first apartment in well over eight years.

Ben credits Elizabeth, our Mental Health & Addiction Division Manager, with finally putting him on the path to independence. Elizabeth has tirelessly provided support to Ben, helping him with everything including obtaining public benefits and his personal identifying documents. Ben has nothing but praise for the person his sisters refer to as ‘his angel’: “None of this would be possible without Elizabeth. She helped me with everything that I needed to live a normal life.”

Ben currently has seven months of sobriety under his belt. He’s keeping busy helping his father with odd jobs and taking care of himself. He’s enjoying his new home and the things we take for granted, like making his own meals and sleeping in his own bed. He tells us, “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed that I was homeless, or that I received help from Homeless Solutions. They saved me.”