Jay is an accomplished musician, chef, martial artist, author of open poetry, novels and plays, pre-doctorate student in Theology and Apologetics, and leader of the “Peculiar People” music ministry to retirement homes, shelters, and rehabilitation centers. Several years ago; however, Jay was also homeless and in need of a place to start over.

Jay entered HSP’s Safe Haven Shelter, a place where those who are struggling through homelessness and chronic mental illness can stay safe and warm while getting back on their feet. “The day I entered Safe Haven Shelter, the only thing I had was a satchel on my back that someone had given to me. It held everything I owned,” Jay said.

“During my intake interview with my caseworker, many questions were asked of me. Out of true concern for me, the support staff asked of my immediate needs - physical and personal,” he said, “My caseworker, as well as support staff, became a source of love, kindness, wise direction, and counsel.”

Jay worked hard to become a dependable and trusted participant around the shelter. He found ways to encourage others and show them that things do eventually get better. He spent time listening to others and being a friend to those who needed one. He even spent his own time helping with those who were attending HSP’s Cold Weather Shelter, cooking food when needed, distributing donated personal care items, and helping new guests get oriented to the shelter.

Today, Jay is in his first apartment, which he was able to obtain with the help of the HSP’s Supportive Housing service. He is still local to Westminster and stays involved at Safe Haven cooking Thanksgiving meals or just visiting to listen and talk to the residents who need someone to share with. He reflects on his journey and considers his time at Safe Haven to be “…the pinnacle of my change into who I am today. The help, assistance, encouragement, and confidence of the caseworkers and support staff during my time, as well as the programs provided, helped shape the life I live today. My passion and desire is to serve the needs of my community. Helping those whose voices are often unheard or misunderstood in their season and station of life.”