Life is certainly unpredictable. Two months ago, I never would have guessed that Bridges’ staff members would now be working from home due to a pandemic. I’m still going through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, along with the rest of the world. For some areas of my life, I’ve reached acceptance, but in other areas, I’m definitely not there yet. What I’m feeling today, however, is something different: gratitude.
Sometimes during the darkest times, we see the best in people. I’ve seen the strength in 13 of our client households that have persisted and worked with our Housing Advocates and Housing Specialist to get rehoused in the past month. The compassion in our staff members, who continue to think of ways to help their clients and one another through this crisis. The dedication in our Board of Directors and committees that have supported our staff with their expertise and financial support. The generosity and empathy in our community of supporters who responded immediately to our appeal with nearly $10,000 in donations for rent assistance, supplies, and food assistance for our clients. The community-mindedness of local philanthropies that raised over $200,000 in their #HoCoRespond appeal, funds that will be distributed through grants to local nonprofits. I could go on about many other individuals, nonprofits, and groups that are doing their part to help not only Bridges’ clients but others living outside or in their cars during this difficult time. Some of my personal heroes right now are the outreach workers who are working with unsheltered homeless individuals and families, trying to get them to safe places.
The phrase “Stay Home” doesn’t apply and isn’t helpful for the hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness on a given night in Howard County. I can only imagine how much it hurts to hear or see those words when you don’t have a home. Bridges’ work is a little different and even more challenging now, with many landlords slow to rent and taking extra precautions with potential tenants, but we are adapting as quickly as possible to this new situation and remaining focused on our mission. We joyfully bought two new housing units in the past month and now have 42 affordable rental homes!
Sometimes during the darkest times, it’s people who provide the light. A big thank you to everyone in our community who has helped us provide much-needed support, food, gift cards, cleaning supplies, and housing to our clients.
With gratitude for your support, and hope that you will stay safe,
Jen Broderick, LCSW