|Georgina outside the Hyannis cottage that is now home to her and her husband Jim.
In the last month that HAC ran NOAH, Georgina and Jim represented one of the final success stories in the agency’s 32-year history of operating the shelter. On the first day of October, the couple had moved into a Hyannis cottage, located less than a mile from HAC’s offices on West Main Street.
It represented a step forward for the two who had lived at the NOAH Shelter since January of last year.
At NOAH, they were connected to the services they needed, from medical to housing, to eventually become self-sufficient. The news that a home had been found for them was delivered by former shelter director Greg Bar, who is now a housing search specialist at HAC.
When they were living at the shelter, each of Georgina and Jim’s possessions fit into two separate totes which were placed under the separate twin beds they slept on every night. “It had all your paperwork and important documents, then your toiletries and then your clothing,” Georgina said of the totes, a little more than two weeks after she and her husband had a bigger space to fit their belongings.
No longer will they need a tote. But when they moved in October, they had yet to accumulate enough possessions to fill the small cottage. But that did not matter to them. That’s because this is now home.
What led them to homelessness? “Layoff, illness, having no income and I self-medicated with alcohol,” Georgina admitted.
Georgina’s struggles included two bouts with cancer, the last of which occurred while in shelter. Her husband, a licensed electrician, had undergone three major surgeries that left him disabled and unable to work.
When they arrived at NOAH, they had lost everything. “There was a fear of what is going to happen next,” Georgina said. “Will I ever have housing again?”
With each other’s love, Jim and Georgina made it through their darkest hours; while in shelter the two, who had been together for over 15 years, were legally married. And with HAC’s help, they slowly began to make progress.
“I feel grateful, very ecstatic,” Georgina said, inside her new home. “I feel that here, this place, is going to bring us back what we had lost.”