"I don't have a house, but I'm home."

07.23.21

Through the isolation of COVID-19, family has been more important than ever for most of us. For sister, mother, grandmother and Uber driver, Tagerin Jackson, strong family connections have always been her lifeline.

This is true for most clients despite systems that work to keep them isolated and vulnerable:

  • Our criminal justice system separates people from their families, communities and society.
  • Shelter systems are designed for single men or women and children, but not families or men with children.
  • People who are lucky enough to get a housing voucher risk losing it if friends without housing stay with them.
  • Entire families, disproportionally families of color, are torn apart by the foster care system.

Sadly, efforts to address these realities head on are limited. But according to Director of Public Policy Joanna Diamond, “Several reform issues, many of which we work on, keep families together indirectly. These include decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration and moving from the congregate shelter model to prioritize permanent, supportive housing.”

Despite the barriers, on most days, you can see clients like Tagerin in our lobby with a friend or family member there to cheer them on.

Tagerin’s support system helped her seek treatment and encouraged her to prioritize her physical, mental and emotional health. “Even through being locked up and my addiction, my family has always been there. I’m the youngest and they still spoil me,” she says. As a mother and grandmother, she does the same.

Mass incarceration has separated her from her son Frank and Frank from his own sons, but Tagerin makes sure they talk every day. She takes one of her grandsons along with her while she works so they can spend extra time together. “I am so, so at peace and really loving life,” says Tagerin with a smile.

Encouraged by family and community and rooted in her faith, this summer marked two years of sobriety for Tagerin. Her sponsor of nine years, her sister who has been sober for 26 years, and her Narcotics Anonymous support group were there to celebrate alongside her.

She currently lives with her brother, explaining, “I don’t have my own house, but I’m home. He doesn’t want me to leave.” Now that she’s fully vaccinated (thanks to a little encouragement from her older sister), she’s visited Frank in prison and can’t wait to have even more gatherings with her family here in Baltimore.


Read more about the impact of incarceration on homelessness.

 

More Recent News


Side profile of Mark Council speaking into a microphone to a crowd outside
04.22.24

Client storytelling is a staple of the nonprofit business model, ever present in advocacy, clinic tours, fundraising—and news articles like the one you are reading right now.

2593
The Trans Health Equity Act bill signing; Governor Moore is joined by advocates, including members of the Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition
04.22.24

The Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition (TRAC) has been the driving force in championing trans rights policy changes in Maryland. Due to stigma and structural discrimination, transgender people—particularly transgender people of color—experience high rates of homelessness. Following the implementation of the Trans Health Equity Act in January, we talked with TRAC leadership about their work and community. 

2592
Black woman smiling as she presents a powerpoint about health determinants
04.19.24

Since starting in January 2022, REI Health Specialist Arie Hayre-Somuah, LMSW, MPH has worked with our clinical teams to identify health disparities and move us closer to health equity. This year, she is turning her focus to the topic of health literacy.

2591
Picture of Hanna Mast, a white woman wearing glasses and an orange sweater
04.02.24

We are delighted to announce the promotion of Hanna Mast from Senior Communications Manager to Director of Communications. Get to know more about her work in the Q&A below!

2585

View All News

Copyright © 2024 Health Care for the Homeless.

All Rights Reserved.

OUR HEADQUARTERS

421 Fallsway, Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 410-837-5533

FOLLOW US

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram