James Brooks has heart disease, and it runs in the family. When his mother was enduring the worst of her illness, James didn’t have enough money to help her with medical bills. He wrote fraudulent checks in order to care for his mother, and to ultimately pay for her funeral. Knowing she had done whatever she had to do to care for him all his life, he reciprocated without worry about the consequences.
An understanding judge praised James’ loyalty to his family and issued probation rather than jail time. James found sporadic part-time work but was also abusing drugs. He was without a safe place to live several times and turned to emergency shelters.
After experiencing three heart attacks in a row, James came to understand the seriousness of his condition.
His disability was certified and he began receiving a modest disability income. Because of his disability, James qualified for permanent supportive housing, which is subsidized housing coupled with health care, employment services and other supports.
Today, James has been clean and sober for 20 years. He is one of the original tenants at the Commons at Buckingham. He takes great pride in his apartment community and can often be found taking out the trash and tidying up around the common areas of the building. He works part-time at Community Kitchen, an organization that serves three meals a day to hungry Columbus citizens. James can speak to the power of work, and says having a job allows him to pay his rent on time and feel good about himself. His work gives him a sense of pride, helps him stay connected to society, and he has the satisfaction of always having a few dollars in his pocket.
James is a member of Community Shelter Board’s Citizens’ Advisory Council, an advocacy group that offers advice about how to make homeless programs and services more effective.
Show your support by joining the EveryMan team. Give $30 a month – just $1 a day – on your credit card. Your $30 monthly gift will help men get off the streets, ensure they have a shelter bed during these cold winter months, and help them find safe and affordable housing.