Porchlight A Helping Hand, Not a Handout


Jerry, 55, recently retired from a long and successful career in the construction industry.  Among the many strong construction skill sets he had cultivated over the years, Jerry was a master welder of steel.  He also proudly lays claim to being a “Union Man” for well over two decades.  He is also a proud father of several adult children and to several grandchildren. In fact, he proudly displays a small photo of his six year old smiling granddaughter in the front of his wallet.

For the past 15 years, Jerry has been plagued with the demons of a severe heroin addiction.  During this period of time, despite earning a very generous income as a valued construction contractor in the Midwestern region, his addiction to heroin had left him chronically homeless. Over this span of his life, he found himself living in run down – close to being condemned – motels.  Also, if Jerry did not utilize Porchlight’s men’s drop-in shelter, it was not atypical, that he found himself sleeping in various parks in the summer time, and sleeping in the back seat of his car in the dead of winter.  All tenuous circumstances were induced by a binding addiction to heroin.

Jerry reached a personal crossroads of sorts last year, when in the midst of a “typical weekend” heroin binge, he overdosed.  His binge put him in a coma for eighteen days.  At the most acute point in his overdose, his heart had stopped beating for over six minutes.  (This is medically documented in his hospital patient files.)

For the past ten years, Jerry had been consistently accessing Porchlight’s homeless services.  This ran the gamut from sleeping at the men’s Drop-In Shelter, to utilizing the day resources at the Hospitality House, to most recently, accessing Porchlight outreach services offered in the drop-in shelter. For the past two years, Jerry sporadically sought out Porchlight outreach services.  The recommendation had always been for Jerry to start off accessing sober living housing.  He had always turned down this housing opportunity. Things changed when his heroin activity literally killed him last year. Finally, two years of being respectfully offered sober living opportunities, Jerry made the decision to accept this reasonable pathway to long term, stable, sustainable housing.  And this week Porchlight outreach facilitated his move into sober living housing!  We are wishing Jerry all the best on his figurative and literal new lease on life!

By: Glenn, Porchlight Outreach Worker

© 2014 - 2017 Porchlight | A Helping Hand, Not a Handout
Background photo taken by Dori (dori@merr.info)