Mural by Mat Ellis

CARE Helps Downtown’s Homeless Stand on Their Own Two Feet

On Foremaster Lane Downtown sits the CARE Complex building. It’s neither pretty nor grand, but its mission—to help homeless clients transition off the streets into jobs and a permanent home—belies its exterior.

The once foreclosed building has been transformed into a community center that collaborates with other social service providers in helping the homeless Downtown.

“What we really try to do is focus on those on the bubble. That is, they are ready to accept responsibility,” says CARE ambassador Mat Ellis. “We motivate them to find employment and to slowly become removed from government services and have an independent lifestyle.”

Clients perform volunteer work in exchange for CARE services, which includes being able to use CARE’s address for mail forwarding, getting identification, birth certificates and social security reproduction. CARE also provides résumé-building services, bus passes and free locker rentals.

Marianne Grochol, a CARE client, is grateful for a place to keep her belongings safe and to contribute to the community. “Basically all I own is in that locker,” she says. “CARE has given me a purpose. It helps me to focus on other people so I can get back my mental state.”

Ellis believes that while necessary, donations of clothing and hygiene products are just the tip of the iceberg in helping the homeless population; a community that cares about those living on the streets is essential. CARE, whose facility needs a great deal of repairs and exposure, accepts cash donations toward its self-reliance project. 

To learn more about CARE or to donate resources, go to CareComplex.org.

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