Dee Dee and Eric spent years on streets struggling with addiction and their path to sobriety was rocky. At Bridge House Dee Dee and Eric were able to utilize services such as the client internship program, case management, and legal benefits assistance to begin filing tedious disability paperwork.
In addition the access to two meals a day and a shower it was the access to computers helped with Dee Dee’s tireless search for a job. They explain, “We weren’t looking for a hand out, only a hand up”. They had the determination to be housed and employed; they simply needed the tools and guidance to achieve these goals.
Dee Dee filled out twenty seven employment applications before finally getting her job on the Pearl Street Mall. When I asked about housing applications they both rolled their eyes and sighed, “You don’t even want to know how many we filled out”. This couple has been told “No” more times than you can imagine, but it has never occurred to them to stop trying.
Even though both Dee Dee and Eric are currently employed, they still faced huge obstacles that prevented them from getting stable housing. Bridge House was able to coach them through this process as well as open up doors to government programs such as the HPRP (Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program) which ultimately gave them the first set of apartment keys that they’ve had in many years.
Even though Dee Dee and Eric now have housing, they still come to Bridge House every day because they enjoy the people and the support they receive. Eric is a client intern, a very valuable program at Bridge House. Participants in the client internship program work 3 hours a week and are compensated with a bus pass for the month. Client interns meet once a week with their case manager to review progress on their chosen goals, and also meet along with other clients as a group once a month. They perform tasks for the agency such as preparing and serving food, sorting donations and assisting with simple office duties.
Dee Dee and Eric’s story illustrates the possible successes that Bridge House helps to foster every day.