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Stories from Staff

TJ Makes A Hard Choice

From Daniel, a staff member of Portland Rescue Mission:
TJ looks like any Californian college student, with a goatee and a clear complexion.  He doesn’t fit the homeless man stereotype, but TJ has been homeless for months.

He carries his life’s possessions around in a large pack — a gift from a homeless friend.  TJ doesn’t use drugs.  But his eyes carry a glaze of discouragement, as if he’s grown past the point of tears.  

TJ and I grow a close friendship.  Every day, we sit down and talk about how he’s doing.  Sometimes on the bunk of his bed in the shelter, sometimes outside on the street.  For the most part, he’s just waiting for someone to tell him that they believe in him and give him direction in life.
In less than a week, we are able to find him a wonderful program that cares not only for his independence, but for the transformation of his soul.  Even though this program requires a series of interviews, TJ does completes every step.  He never misses an appointment.  

But here is the best part:
A few days before getting into the program, another opportunity comes to TJ.  Someone offers to pay for an apartment for TJ to live in.  All he has to do is say yes to this handout.  He comes to my office asking, “What should I do?  Wait for this program, or take the apartment?”
Not wanting to make TJ’s decisions for him, I explain both situations to him.  “Well, if all you are looking for is a good place to stay, then take the apartment.  But if you want to work on the issues that brought you to a place of homelessness, join the recovery program.”
TJ chose the latter.  He didn’t take the easy way out, and I respect him for that.
Most homeless men and women have deep wounds which keep them in despair.  Your support helps us offer them not just a home — but healing.  Thank you.