Last winter, Mark became a regular on our mobile feeding program. He often approached our vans at various locations in lower Manhattan, asking for a hot meal. But when our staff suggested he come into our office for further help, a look of fear and mistrust would come over his face.
But as he began to open up over time, we learned that Mark was a war veteran - a proud, 50-year-old former Marine who had served his country for many years with honor. But like so many of the men and women who live on the streets, Mark has mental health issues, including untreated depression that has made it difficult for him to hold onto jobs and housing.
Sleeping in subway cars, finding warm shelter wherever he could, and struggling with bouts of illness brought on by exhaustion and exposure eventually took their toll. And after several months of building his trust, we convinced Mark to come in from the cold.
We found a small shelter in a church basement that was safe and comfortable for him, and then, after several months more of working on his behalf, we secured permanent supportive housing which will provide the medical and mental health services he so desperately needs.
Thanks to your loyal support of the Coalition, Mark will not be spending these harsh winter nights trembling in the cold - or curled up on the floor of a shelter intake office. His journey out of homelessness is over, and the next chapters in his life look brighter than ever.
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