Experience shows respite care, housing much-needed

I am writing in response to the article “Respite care facility draws controversy” (JP Gazette, Sept. 10.) I believe without a doubt that the homeless need this respite care facility and the permanent supportive affordable housing, Single Room Occupancy (SROs), for very low-income individuals. These programs are needed in order to help the homeless who need a place to recover from illness(es), and who are in desperate need to get off the street into a place of their own where they may have a decent place to live and heal and feel good about themselves. The respite care facility is very much needed.

Three years ago, I was living in a rooming house in the South End, and I had to move out because the landlord was selling his property. I panicked because I would have no place to live and was sick with prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Plus, I was 63 years old at the time. When I moved out of my room, I lived out of my suitcase and used Pine Street Inn as my address. After five months, with the help of an organization called HomeStart, I found a wonderful place to live at the Rogerson Communities, at the corner of Columbus and Walnut avenues, one-and-a-half blocks from 461 Walnut Ave., the site of the former Barbara McInnis House, now proposed to be a respite care facility and housing.

Believe me when I say that if I had spent any more time on the street I would have died, because, since then, my cancer has gotten worse, and I have been on chemotherapy for the past two-and-a-half years. So, I’m asking JP folks to please support this project so that the homeless may have a comfortable place to live and heal.

Oren Elow
Egleston Square

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