I have nothing but mad respect for Ricky and Corey, both have been through hell-and-back and are survivors in the purest sense - fighting hard to get clean, resisting the drug economy by enrolling in a job program, and desperately trying to keep a roof over their heads. They are an odd couple of sorts, Ricky from the country and Corey from the Baltimore City projects. However, their similarities are too profound not to mention. Each man, now in their early forties, faced physical violence from a parent as children, living on their own before the age of eighteen and as early as thirteen, the pull of the drug economy to support themselves and heroin addiction brought on by prescription drugs administered by Physicians treating their injuries. Eventually, these similarities would be their undoing, each succumbing to addiction. And as a result, both lost their families, finding themselves homeless; one living in a tent behind a shopping center and the other living on the streets of Baltimore. But luckily their similarities don't end with addiction. Each of these men is funny, kind and giving, helping our ministry feed the homeless and addicted men and women of Baltimore every Saturday morning at Broadway and Lombard Streets.
And through it all, wonderfully, they have become each other's support system, often pooling food stamps to make it through the month and supporting each other's sobriety. Each of them, and together, is actively forging a stable path of wellness - highlighted by just this week, together, they started the same job re-entry program. With joy, I share both are on their way to a better life.
But there's a catch.
Ricky and Corey are about to become homeless again. The Recovery House where they have been living is under investigation for fraud (unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence in Baltimore), and as a result, they are losing their benefit-funded housing. I spent two-days searching, calling, texting and emailing the various Halfway Houses and Agency's in Baltimore to help my friends secure a place to live. What I learned was shocking. In a nutshell, it's nearly impossible to find an affordable place to live if you have not been homeless for a year or you are clean and sober without a mental illness. One very nice individual who worked for the City put it this way, "Your friends are in an impossible group to help. They're doing too well, if they were actively using or homeless, it would be a different story." UGH! She went on to say that their best bet was to rent a room from Craig's List. So, friends, without any other viable options; that is what Corey and Ricky are trying to do. But here's the thing, rooms run about $150 to $200 per room, PER WEEK, and they would NOT be able to share per landlord requirements. A more affordable alternative would be for Ricky and Corey to rent and share an apartment within walking distance to their job program. But this solution would also mean they would need help with the security deposit and enough funds to stay stable with rent as their employment income is modest at best.
With all of that said, I'm raising these funds to help my friends who I love very much secure a place to live while they work to complete their job program. I realize that for those of you that know me, I have asked for so much support for my "friends downtown" over the past several months. I realize asking for actual money is very different than asking for size 14 shoes. But please know I have prayed about this request and with great humility; I'm begging again. Can you please help my friends secure a place to live? Any amount donated would be appreciated and could be the difference needed to support two amazing men realize a better way of living.
Thank you in advance for considering and count on my prayers,
- Cathy Domby
- Tyler Finn
- Jo Ann Van Kessel
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