George: An Independent Spirit

George was chronically homeless for years before being admitted into our permanent supportive housing program.

He had been on a continuous spiral of sanctions by Department of Social Services because he was unable to comply with their requests.  For many years, he would come to Bethesda House each day seeking essential and basic needs services from our Day Shelter and Case Management Department and at the end of the day he would always leave. The Case Management Department worked to build a rapport with George and to establish his trust since he was of diminished mental capacity and he denied being homeless.

While staying in a homeless shelter someone stole George’s few worldly possessions while he was sleeping and from that point on he was afraid.  That fear allowed Bethesda House Case Managers the opportunity to get George to admit he was homeless and needed help.  He worked with staff and was finally able to obtain permanent housing at Bethesda House and his long reign of homelessness was finally behind him.  George suffers from mental illness, anxiety disorder and panic attacks, but refuses to admit that he suffers from any type of disorder.  His Case Manager works with him to manage his symptoms and continues to encourage George to build relationships within his community so someday he will feel comfortable sharing his mental health struggles.

One of George’s goals was to be employed. Through Schenectady Job Training Program offered by DSS he received custodial job training and worked at Bethesda House. Through his job, he spoke with people, had a purpose each day, and was able to take pride in his work. He made connections talking about hockey, football, the College of Notre Dame, and the movie, “Braveheart”.  

Today he loves having a place to call his own and has a sense a pride as he works to maintain independence.