A second chance
Everything changed for Raphael this past year when he got divorced and lost his home in Hamden, CT. He moved to New London to live with a friend, but when that didn’t work out, he had nowhere left to go, and ended up at the Homeless Hospitality Center in the spring of 2018.
Raphael had never been homeless before and was nervous about staying at a shelter, but his anxiety was quickly alleviated by the warm welcome he received from staff, volunteers, and especially the other guests. It was helpful for Raphael to hear the stories of other guests and to realize that he was not alone.
While at the shelter, Raphael took advantage of the opportunity to work with employment specialists from We Work 2, who assisted him in his job search. It wasn’t long before Raphael was able to find a job as a department manager at Walmart, and he was able to start saving money to put towards a new apartment. With the help of his housing case manager, Raphael found a great apartment and moved out of the shelter early in the summer.
Raphael refers to HHC as a place where one is given all the tools needed to get back on their feet. He encourages other guests to take advantage of all the opportunities that the Center provides—from big things like help finding employment and housing, to the little things like offering bus passes for medical appointments and job interviews.
When asked what advice he would offer to others who find themselves in a similar position, Raphael says “it’s important to not feel ashamed of yourself. Do your best to let go of the past and focus on what is next. Let the shelter help you get back on your feet. And believe in yourself, because if I could do it, anyone can do it.”
Indeed, Raphael did do it, and is now thriving in his new job and new apartment. He returns to the shelter occasionally to help serve an evening meal with members of his church. He is eager to give back to the organization that helped give him a second chance, and is always willing to offer a smile and a helping hand to everyone he meets.
Interested in helping people like Raphael get back on their feet? Volunteer or donate today!