I’m currently 52 years of age. Well, for starters, I’m speaking from a personal perspective. My name is Melvin Thomas and I have been homeless and familyless since I was a juvenile.
To be in my circle or up close and personal, no one would ever guess that I had been homeless — unless I told you, that is.
Being homeless for me was a way of life I had come to accept. People become homeless for different reasons. My reason, so I thought, was the hand that I was dealt in this life, since I had been homeless for so long. When I was young, I believed that the streets were my home and that the sky was the roof over my head.
In 2010, I was released from prison after serving 21 years straight with no place to go but the home I was accustomed to. I was told about an organization called Pathways to Housing, which helps the homeless in D.C. find housing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because I was homeless. It wasn’t the worst of my problems. Well, I’ve had three strokes, two heart attacks, I’m a diabetic and also mentally ill.
I’ve learned that a lot of homeless people are or become mentally ill. Pathways to Housing also helps and treats the mentally ill homeless people of Washington D.C. They also have an on-duty psychiatrist.
Being a consumer of Pathways, I get all the medication I need and treatment too. They also have an on-duty medical doctor. Each team has its own nurse. Pathways to Housing has done so much to help and treat the mentally ill homeless people of Washington like myself.
For instance, they gave me food bags to put in my new apartment. Yes, Pathways has changed my roof from the sky to a place with a real roof, my very own apartment! Yes, as long as I stay in compliance with my parole and Pathways to Housing, I can finally live a normal, natural life instead of an unnatural homeless one.
For the first time in my life, I feel good. Thank you very much Pathways to Housing; you all have changed my life. From a life of being homeless with no real direction to a life of substance, goals and values. Please keep up the excellent work you do of helping the homeless and/or mentally Ill of D.C.
We all love and appreciate you. I know I do! And thanks to the Honorable Gretchen Rohr, who told me all About Pathways to Housing in 2010.