Homelessness is a huge problem worldwide. Apart from the lack of safe housing, people who are wandering the streets or live in homeless shelters face numerous other challenges on a daily basis, such as reduced access to necessities and private and public services, an increased risk of illnesses, violence, and abuse, and discrimination.
After a life in a homeless shelter, Dennis Patton, a 63-year-old Vietnam veteran, couldn’t hold his tears when he entered his new home on Chicago’s South Side, in the old West Pullman Elementary School building.
“It was a little rough around the edges but I managed to still hang in there and wait for the blessing.”
His one-bedroom apartment was furnished and decorated by volunteers with Detroit-based Humble Design Chicago, which helps families and veterans to rise above homelessness.
According to their website:
“Using gently donated items from the local Chicago community, we turn four bare walls into clean, dignified and welcoming homes for our client-families. It’s a very simple idea that can change a family’s future! “
The West Pullman Elementary School closed six years ago and was transformed into housing for seniors called the West Pullman School Redevelopment by developer Celadon Holdings and A Safe Haven Foundation.
Patton said that he appreciates the work done by the volunteers to make him feel at home:
“This is exactly the way I would have done it. This is awesome. It is like winning the jackpot and a Christmas present at the same time.”
He added that this is the thing about America that he loves, “you can be 15 to 115, you can always start over.”
He is the official 12th resident, and a hundred seniors will eventually live in the building.