Robert* is an uncle, brother, Army veteran, and life-long Alexandrian. He has also struggled with homelessness for over 15 years. His struggles began when his girlfriend passed away and he was forced to leave her apartment. Unable to work because of a medical condition, he moved from place to place, sometimes living on the street, many times receiving help from Carpenter’s Shelter. He frequented David’s Place day shelter, the Winter Shelter during cold, winter months, and Carpenter’s Emergency Shelter. Mr. Jenkins is considered “chronically homeless” – although we prefer to describe him as a man who needed a stable home.
We were thrilled to be able to provide him that opportunity in December 2020 when our new Permanent Supportive Housing program began. As part of the New Heights Redevelopment of our property on North Henry Street, we secured ten Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units for men and women like Mr. Sanders who have struggled with homelessness for many years. The units are one-room efficiencies with a galley kitchen, living area, space for a bed, and separate bathroom. They are comfortable, safe and most importantly, permanent.
The program includes support from our PSH Case Manager who meets weekly with residents. “Mr. Jenkins is a perfect tenant,” reports his Case Manager Michael Shields. “He has followed through on everything he needs to in working toward his goals.” They have worked together on obtaining documents (birth certificate, ID, and Social Security card) required for Mr. Jenkins to access Veterans Administration benefits. Mr. Jenkins’ is also working towards taking care of his health and reconnecting with family, goals which have become possible now that he has a permanent home.
“I love living at The Bloom!” says Mr. Jenkins. “The best part is I get to see my family more. When I was homeless, my nephew and brother didn’t know where to find me. But now that I have an apartment, they come to visit and check in on me. Carpenter’s has done a marvelous job with the Permanent Supportive Housing units.”
*Name changed for privacy.