Never sleep in the woods. Sleep near others, or at least take extra care if you’re sleeping alone. Use the “pouch system” — multiple sleeping bags and a comforter — on cold nights. Rely on prayer and don’t lose faith.
These are just a few of the lessons that Kenneth learned during his 25 years on the streets of D.C. Originally from North Carolina, Kenneth found himself homeless and spent years sleeping behind the police headquarters and in a gazebo in Montrose Park.
But now, Kenneth is adjusting to a new life in a condo. “It’s really nice and everything is new,” he says of his new living space, a brand new building with units for veterans and homeless individuals. In his new home, he can keep up with his favorite shows. Transitioning from living outside to life in a new apartment is quite an adjustment. “It’s nice,” he reports, “but your mind and body have to adjust to the new situation.” He still goes outside and moves around so that his new place doesn’t feel too small and confined. But watching the snow from inside definitely beats sleeping out in it — Winter Storm Stella is the first snow storm he saw from inside.
Kenneth credits GMC with getting him started on the road to housing. He’s known about GMC since it was a single room with no showers, laundry, or bathrooms. Before coming to GMC, Kenneth didn’t have any of the identification needed to get housing. GMC assisted him in getting a birth certificate, ID and SSI benefits, and then referred him to our partners at Miriam’s Kitchen for a housing placement. After 25 years of homelessness, Kenneth was able to get into housing in only 2.5 months. “You guys started the process,” he says of GMC. “If it hadn’t been for y’all I wouldn’t have anything. So thank you so much.”
— Sarah Hartley & David Finnegan-Hosey
Want to help more guests like Kenneth? Between now and May 31, we are once again working to raise $10,000 to receive a matching $10,000 grant from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. We hope you’ll join with us and help us meet the match!