Cincinnati weather has been crazy lately! This morning, I had to wait for tornado sirens to go off just to leave the house. The blackened sky was an ominous threat to everyone’s rush hour commute. (Plus, I left my umbrella at work!) Now, our clients are hanging out on the porch, basking in brilliant sunlight. It’s amazing how quickly our sky can change.
Watching this transformation made me think about the clients here because many of them undergo similar “night and day” changes in the short time they are with us.
Homelessness is a lonely way to live. It really is. When our clients arrive at the Center for Respite Care, how do they know that they can trust us? They can, of course, but they don’t always know that. And so they are mistrustful at first.
Over time, we get to see more of our client’s personalities. They learn that we’re here to help break down the barriers and help them pull the pieces of their lives back together.
In some ways, we’re lucky. Other shelters with different funding and different objectives host the homeless for limited, if any, daytime hours. They don’t know if clients will come back and they don’t get the chance to sit and chat with their clients as much as we do. Our clients are recovering from acute medical issues, so they stay at our facilities 24 hours a day minus a few appointments and trips to the store.
Every day I watch these transformations, and it’s amazing. Just the difference in physical appearance from when these men and women arrive until when they leave is enough to prove lives are being changed.
It’s a decision on their part, too. Not every client experiences this transformation, but one strength of our program is that the time spent here is truly a respite. They have a chance to sit down and think about their choices, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They’re away from their normal surroundings and companions. For some, that makes all the difference because while our primary goal is physical healing, we don’t want our clients to just heal and walk out the door. We want them to find themselves along the way.