From Despair to Hope

Follow up to the "In Plain Sight" article posted December 12, 2013

By Andrew Murdock | Photography by Andrew Murdock | Posted on 08.07.14 – Web Exclusives

From the In Plain Sight article posted on December 12, 2013:

Maria and Jake are another couple that live in one of the city’s homeless camps, but their story is not as upbeat as Kelly and Ryan’s. They struggle with people they meet, putting them down, and find this attitude difficult not to give up. They are nonetheless determined to overcome obstacles that are alien to most, such as trying to find somewhere to take a shower before spending a day walking the streets asking for a job.

In February, Maria underwent surgery for spinal stenosis at Johns Hopkins. After 30 days recovery in the hospital, she was straight out into 20-degree weather. Attempts to obtain aid to stay in a hotel have been unsuccessful. They speak of discontent at the camp, tents being cut out and bicycle tires slashed out of malice. As they look at one another, they resolve to keep trying, determined to not spend a winter in the cold weather shelter.

When I last met Maria and Jake, it was in February, the strain of the cold winter having taken it’s toll. They were at the Frederick Community Action Agency, to use the showers, shave and brush their teeth. Sitting together at a table, they were huddled together, the biting cold of the previous night in a tent not leaving their bodies. Any hope having left their eyes.

Six months later and their world has become one of hope. Today they are in a shared transition house, have jobs, able to save and looking forward to being able to afford their own place within the next few weeks. From the worn out, world weary, beaten down look in their eyes six months ago, to seeing them healthy, happy, full of faith and hope for the future in just a few months. Their life today being one of plans and dreams instead of mere survival dominating their thoughts.