First Person Stories: I May Be Homeless Today But There Is Hope for Tomorrow


Jo’e Simons facilitates Table Talk Tuesday allowing clients to share their personal journey through homelessness.

The Re:Creation Room is a safe space at Opportunity House for clients to share their thoughts and feelings on their journey from homeless.  Jo’e Simons, program specialist facilitates Table Talk Tuesday in the Re:Creation room.  Table Talk Tuesday gives clients the opportunity to share their stories, their struggles, and their successes without judgement and among others who are experiencing homelessness.

Sharing their experiences creates community and promotes healing.  Through mutual support and understanding, clients are reassured that they are not alone.  Having a dedicated space in Opportunity House focused on emotional healing gives clients respite from the daily challenges of being homeless. “It’s a chance to focus on themselves and their emotional well-being,” noted Jo’e.  Every activity gives clients an outlet to express themselves in a unique way.  It is also a respite from the demanding tasks clients face as they work toward becoming stably housed.  For many clients the time in the Re:Creation room is the only calming time in their day.

Understanding Homelessness

How did you become homeless? What are your struggles?  We asked clients to share their insights on their continuing journey through homelessness to help others understand it.

In their own words. . .

“I got evicted from my house after losing my job.  I fell behind on the rent.  I was waiting for ERAP Emergency Rental Assistance Program but couldn’t wait any longer. ”

“I was hospitalized for attempted suicide.  I had no hope, and no other family.  I had nowhere to go. I came here.  The people are very friendly and nice.  I was very anxious and upset.  I’m currently working on getting a job that gives me the flexibility for the appointments I need to attend.”

“My sister and I were living together and got evicted I came here and now I am better equipped to handle my problems after being here.  I feel happier and that means everything to me.”

“After I had to leave my mom’s house, I came here.  I help here by cleaning.  I feel like I have new skills, I laugh a lot. I enjoy crafts and it helps me relax. I feel like I have more freedom and I look forward to getting an apartment for myself.”

“I’ve been here for 4 months.  It’s essentially a safe place to live.  It gives me the time to get the services I need lined up.  I have a guide/case manager to help me through it.  I couldn’t imagine trying to do this while living outside and without a car.”

Opportunity House is located at 430 North Second Street, Reading, Pennsylvania.  Opportunity House provides emergency shelter for women, men and children who are homeless in Berks County.  Opportunity House also operates a Keystone 4 Star Second Street Early Learning Center, OppShop , a retail thrift store as part of our  Reuse/Recycle program.






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