By O.B. Black
Word on the street is that Adams Place Shelter in Northeast Washington is the cleanest and best managed residence for the homeless in the city. This is verified by the many discussions that take place. Veterans as well as newcomers give their nods of approval. Staff and security have good rapport with guests, making for a usually smooth transition.
The shelter is composed of men from many places. They come from all over the United States, as well as Cuba, Mexico, El Salvador, Canada, Cameroon, Nigeria, Japan, Russia, and other countries as well. It’s impressive how, despite being in a difficult situation with the financial challenges facing them, the men manage to adjust and adapt and develop a camaraderie. Trust and honesty grow, with comparatively little theft and few conflicts. Friendships are formed and the men rely on their strength, many talents, and experiences to help each other. This willingness to support one another is a great example of humanity. Some work and some are searching for employment. Some have their own transportation; others rely on mass transit.
Another example of self-reliance is the effective AA/NA program right there on the premises, run by competent homeless and formerly homeless individuals. Regular resident meetings which focus on individual and community concerns are well-attended.
The residents enjoy a wide range of interests: self-improvement, economics, business, music, labor, health, history, religion, education, and politics. They also bring many skills. Some have worked in IT professions, others as administrators, some in culinary arts, others as security consultants, electricians, home improvement specialists, plumbers, painters, artists, writers, auto mechanics, landscapers, bus operators, and the list goes on. Many are avid readers, enjoying books such as Lee Childs’ Double Reverse, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, London Bridges by James Patterson, Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman, the works of Stephen King as well as the Holy Bible by You Know Who.
Major holidays are often joyous occasions. July 4th is spent going out to barbecue or some similar kind of event. On Father’s Day, you can hear salutations exchanged. Christmas is a time to count blessings and create another day of thankful atmosphere.
Basically, everything that happens in our community happens in every corridor of the city. Most issues on this side of the tracks can be found on your side. For the residents of Adams place, New Year’s Eve rolls around and a new year begins, bringing another chance to implement the plans for recovery that many are seeking and many will witness.
From the book: “Obafemi Obafemi”