“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Recently I was asked after a presentation, “How many women who access services would you say call EGH “home”? That question gave me pause. What is true is that we don’t have empirical evidence in terms of numbers. But what is also true is that we witness anecdotal “data” generated by the women we work with on a daily basis.
And that input is related to what we do, offer, provide—but at the end of the day, how we make them feel.
It starts the first time a woman crosses the EGH threshold. They’re greeted warmly by a volunteer receptionist, are offered coffee or other beverage, and get introduced to our community. Whether oriented by a staff member or volunteer, they learn of the basic offerings: food, rest, showers, laundry. If their clothing is in disrepair, they are offered clean clothes, socks, undergarments. Sustenance, safety, warmth.
Perhaps a better question regarding EGH might be, “How many women feel “at home”? That term as defined by Merriam-Webster is: “in harmony with the surroundings…on familiar ground…at ease.” From what I’ve heard and observed over the past seven years, I can confidently speculate that the resounding majority of women would answer that question affirmatively.
In this newsletter, you will read about Ramona, who first came to EGH’s Day Center as a homeless woman, but now comes as one recently housed because her food stamps “run out about the third week of the month.” Studies, such as Food Insecurity Among Formerly Homeless Individuals Living in Permanent Supportive Housing (published online March 13, 2019), have found that food insecurity often increases once formerly homeless individuals are housed (i.e., 2/3 of formerly homeless residents reported low or very low food security.) The experiences reported by EGH clients who are now housed mirror that statistic. Thus, we are committed to being a true wrap-around provider by encouraging women to maintain their connection to their “EGH home” as they work towards establishing a solid footing in the community after accessing permanent housing.
If you are reading this as a friend, donor, volunteer, community provider, or curious citizen—you are already contributing to the magic that makes EGH home. For that, I am indeed grateful.