In conversation, Jerry can flash a broad, engaging smile. This sight is remarkable considering where Jerry was just 18 months ago.
For three years, Jerry lived on the streets. “It was rough. Can’t eat, can’t sleep. People tell you to get the heck away from them. It was just terrible,” he said. “That world is no joke out there.”
Except for the coldest nights, Jerry slept outside. He visited shelters for meals during the day, but stayed outside in the evening. The low point came in 2016 when he was assaulted and had his teeth kicked out.
Jerry’s experience on the streets eroded his ability to trust others.
In June 2016, Jerry ended up in the hospital. Places for People’s outreach team connected with Jerry before he left the hospital. Soon after he enrolled into services at Places for People, the Outreach Team helped him find a place to live in a residential care facility.
When Jerry made the transition to a longer-term treatment team in the summer of 2016, he moved into an apartment of his own through the Hope, Health and Housing grant program. This program helped more than 200 people served by Places for People move from chronic homelessness into permanent housing between 2015 and 2017.
Jerry’s treatment team also helped him re-establish a medication routine. Because he does not like taking pills, his nurse practitioner at Places for People prescribed a monthly long-acting injection.
Jerry started regular appointments at the Family Care Health Centers office located at Places for People. He estimates that he had not seen a doctor for a regular appointment for seven or eight years before beginning monthly appointments with Dr. Amy Hilmer.
In his initial visits with Dr. Hilmer, Jerry was diagnosed with high blood pressure and Hepatitis C. A year-and-a-half later, he takes medication to address his high blood pressure and his Hep C is undetectable.
“Since I’ve met these people, I’ve gotten back on track,” he said.
The team also worked with Family Health Care Centers to address his dental needs. Jerry paid half of the expense, and the team surprised him by dipping into a client assistance fund to cover the rest of the bill.
The 63-year-old continues to work on his overall health. An immediate health goal is to lose weight. To accomplish this goal, he meets regularly with Places for People’s nutritionist to learn about making healthy choices at the grocery store and at meal times.
Jerry continues to work with his team on rebuilding his ability to trust others. One of Jerry’s long-term goals is to become more social and involved in the community.
He’s grateful to his team and everyone who has helped him at Places for People.
Flashing that warm, engaging smile, he said, “I feel like I’m living again.”