What “Housing First” Looked Like This Week

housing first

What does “housing first” mean? It’s not always easy.

This has been an especially challenging week at Humility of Mary Housing and Shelter.  The circumstances we’ve faced remind us of the importance of radical acceptance.

When we say that we’re a “housing first” program or that we practice “radical acceptance,” people ask:

“What do you mean?”

Here’s what ‘housing first’ looks like this week:

  • When a married couple in their mid-80s shows up at our Shelter door–one in a wheelchair–and tell us, “We have nowhere to go,” our door is open.
  • When a young man aged out of the foster care system, has no family and nowhere to go, our door is open.
  • When an elderly woman who suffered a recent stroke, cannot clean or bathe herself, is restricted to a wheelchair, is dropped off at our door by a nursing home who tells us they can no longer can care for her, our door is open.
  • When a chronically homeless man enters our program who has been struggling with the disease of alcoholism, we stay with him at the hospital – – all day and night–so he doesn’t die alone. Our doors and hearts are open.

Radical acceptance requires us to respond to all who come to and through our doors with empathy and acceptance.

We believe homelessness is fundamentally a social justice issue–a reversible circumstance and not a personal characteristic.


greg boyle sj

Rev. Greg Boyle, SJ

Father Greg Boyle in Tattoos on the Heart inspires us:

“Our locating ourselves with those who have been endlessly excluded becomes an act of visible protest. Only when we can see a community where the outcast is valued and appreciated will we abandon the values that seek to exclude.”

Be Radical. Be Accepting.

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