Whre I’m Treated Like Family…

The situation on the streets of New Haven is steadily worsening. There are more people with no place else to go than there were before the pandemic; meanwhile, there are fewer housing options, fewer shelter beds, and fewer accessible services that can meet their need. New Haven is a compassionate place with amazing organizations doing critical work every day. But right now, it is simply not enough to overcome the challenges.

Juliana and Hector know these challenges firsthand… 

Juliana was evicted last July because she couldn’t keep up with rising rents. With nowhere else to go, she made her way to a warming center before finally getting a shelter bed. She’s 26 years old. Hector was released from prison in September, with no plan and no guidance. Being on probation, he found, does not mean you get help finding a place to live. He’s 46 year’s old. The common denominator for all those experiencing homelessness is simply that they are unhoused. For Juliana and Hector though, there is one other commonality: DESK’s Drop-in & Resource Center (DRC).

Confronting Stigma and Getting by…

When you have no house or apartment, nearly everything you do is public. When you’re unhoused, you often spend the day wandering from site to site around town. Feelings of welcome can be sparse. Juliana describes the pain of stigma: “All the public places that were once welcoming have become more and more hostile … with comments like, ‘Oh, look, it’s the homeless club.'”

“If it weren’t for DESK, I’d just be on the Green or in the train station.” ~ Juliana

But stigma’s only half of it. With insufficient resources, you might be forced to do whatever it takes to get by. Hector says that without the DRC, he’d be “grinding the streets and hustling, or [engaging in] in some sort of illegal activity just to get a few bucks to get something to eat.” In other words, he would risk a return to prison.

Finding a Place of Compassion…

For Juliana, the DRC offers both useful resources and hope. At DESK, says Juliana, she has a place to charge her phone and receive her mail,” and now there are lockers available to store my belognings.” Hector agrees: “Since going to the DRC, I’m getting help obtaining IDs so I can get back to work, and I’ve gotten referrals for medical care and dental care, too.”

But it’s more than just resources, says Hector. “At the DRC, everyone is welcoming. They treat us with respect, and that’s helpful. […It’s] where I’m treated like family.” Despite the difficulties he’s faced in re-entering the community from prison, the warmth and compassion Hector gets — and gives — at the DRC is helping him through his recovery from substance use.

“I’d be dead of in jail if the DRC wasn’t around.” ~ Hector

Juliana and Hector, along with 1,500 other New Haveners who will come to our Drop-in & Resource Center this year, need your help. The key to DESK’s innovative program in radical compassion is community. The work our staff, interns, and volunteers do everyday relies on a commitment from each and every one of us to step up and be part of this critical lifesaving work.

Most of DESK’s work is not funded by big public contracts; in fact, almost 85 percent of our funding comes from thousands of people like you, making contributions at the end of the calendar year.

Hector, Juliana, and all of us at DESK rely on you to make this work possible

Join me in giving these lifesaving basic needs today. Donate now online at deskct.org/greatgive.