You moved John and Mr. Jesse from the streets to a home, and God brought two men together. They found support, self- sufficiency, and stability.
Mr. Jesse is a quiet 71-year-old man who has spent two decades without a place to call home. Originally from Plainfield, NJ, Mr. Jesse’s life took a turn when he was a young man and found himself without the support he needed. He worked most of his life, but never made enough money working in the hospitality industry to survive. He found himself sleeping in the park most nights.
John, a tall man with a huge heart, came to Philadelphia three years ago after his wife of 13 years passed away. John found himself in Logan Square Park, on a colder than normal spring night in May 2019. John saw Mr. Jesse cold and wet, from the rain earlier that day. “After he told me he had been robbed earlier that day, I told Mr. Jesse ‘you have to trust me and stick with me, and we will get out of this. We will find a way through this together’,” John shared as his breath caught in his throat and his face filled with emotion.
“After we made it through that cold wet night we came to Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Mr. Jesse had stayed at the Mission a few times over the years, and we knew we could get a good meal and a bed,” John remembers. “Sunday Breakfast was different. It was better this time,” Mr. Jesse adds. When Mr. Jesse and John arrived at the Mission they noticed a difference, “Sunday Breakfast felt more like a home”. The building looked better, there were tablecloths in the dining room, and they felt safer. Most of all John shared, “There is pure respect. The staff knows that everybody’s got a story, they have value, and they can make a change.”
Three days after Mr. Jesse and John began staying in the Mission’s emergency shelter they met with one of the Homeless Service staff members. Through the Mission’s new case management model, Mr. Jesse and John, who both loved God deeply, developed their stability strategy which included helping them find an apartment they could afford and in a neighborhood where they could get involved in a local church.
With tears in their eyes, Mr. Jesse and John shared the way that they felt when the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission staff helped them to find their apartment. “They wouldn’t let us stay in the shelter forever, and they didn’t give up on us. They gave us a goal, kept us on track, and helped us find a place where we can live for a long time.” Mr. Jesse and John had the life skills needed to live independently, they just needed support from Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to learn how to use their resources and navigate the system. After staying at the Mission for less than 90-days, they found a place of their own with the help of case management.
Nine-months after moving in, Mr. Jesse and John are still in their apartment. Finding a church in their neighborhood, they also found a community to encourage them. They are enjoying their independence and safety. “I had met 100 guys while I was homeless, but I knew that God was asking me to talk to Mr. Jesse. We were meant to live together and be there for each other,” John concluded.