For the next ten years, Michael repeated the cycle of going from jail to a mental institution and then back to the streets. Each time, he would lose everything he owned. Looking back, he says, “Those were a lot of empty years.”
Michael eventually joined AA and has been sober ever since. He got a job and for thirteen years he stayed out of jail and the hospital. He bought a two bedroom condo. He was surviving on his own.
Two years ago, Michael lost his job. He tried to keep his house by using up all of his savings. He still lost his home. Last spring Michael came to Washington, DC, but without a job or money, he quickly became homeless, sleeping outside on a grate.
Michael first came to Miriam’s Kitchen for breakfast and dinner. The meals drew him in and soon he was also doing art activities in Studio. Case managers provided Michael with clothing and toiletries. Dr. Steve has helped him take his medications regularly, which has brought Michael greater stability.
In addition to being bi-polar, Michael has struggled with glaucoma and serious eye problems. Recently he had tried to get disability benefits, but he was denied. Two Miriam’s Kitchen case managers helped Michael to apply, investing many hours into a more intentional and proactive approach than Michael had received in the past. Their efforts paid off and Michael just got word he will receive disability benefits. With this income, he will be able to take care of his needs and is starting to look for his own apartment.
Photo by Person First Project