One Bag/One Bin

The rule at Utah’s Place is, you get one red bag and one plastic bin to store all your stuff. The bag is 2 feet by 3 feet; the bin, 6 inches deep, 2 feet wide, 3 ½ feet long. It’s not much, but it’s more than you get at most shelters, which is nothing. You must place...

Solitary

One of my colleagues at Hospitality House once called our guest Sue the “most authentic person” he’d ever met. When I shared his words with her recently, she smiled doubtfully and murmured something about “all my flaws.” By that time we’d been acquainted for years,...

Heart on a String

This is the conclusion of the story of Hannah and her son Joseph that began in my first post. We left off with Hospitality House staff, in partnership with other county agencies, learning that Hannah, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, did indeed once have a...

Hannah and Joseph

Hannah arrived by taxi at Utah’s Place seeking her lost infant. She was an older woman, quite short and rather squat, as though she had been stunted in childhood by a heavy load placed on top of her head. Although she kept her eyes focused meekly on the floor and...

These Stories Describe Us

“You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close.” Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy http://www.eji.org/BryanStevenson The suffering of the poor isn’t subtle; I first encountered it as a very young child. I grew up in Glencoe,...