Our men’s shelter is often the last safety net for our homeless guests. They have hit the lowest point in their lives and are there for a reason. They have a story. Jason Citty, licensed social worker and addiction specialist, knows this all too well. He counsels these men several times a week in our shelter, and provides support and guidance so that the men can get back on their feet.
This past year has been unlike any other in recent history. Those who have shelter, food, and jobs have suffered the effects of covid-19-- how much more so have those who experience homelessness and poverty. Poverty alone creates tremendous stress. Add to that the isolation covid-19 has produced, and you have a recipe for anxiety, depression and hopelessness.
That’s where Open Door Ministries comes in. When our guests do not have to worry about their next meal or shelter over their heads, they can focus on their mental health. Jason uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help the men see things differently. He says behaviors come from thoughts, and so he encourages them to believe in themselves. He says if they feel empowered, it goes a long way toward recovery.
Jason spends roughly one hour per week with each shelter guest. It is immersive, which he says is unique (versus an office environment). This is their home.
When asked what he would do if he could wave a magic wand, Jason said he would provide work and stable housing for all the men. He said they thrive most when they have a job, which is empowering and provides the greatest hope.
We are grateful for Jason’s invaluable services to our shelter residents. When they know they have a friend—someone to talk to and someone to lean on—they can move forward in hope and equipped with skills to carry them through life’s journey.