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…he had no place to live and very little money
Nelson is a soft spoken sixty-six year old, originally from Puerto Rico. He says he mostly keeps to himself. He likes spending time in his kitchen, cooking some simple dishes that he grew up eating like rice and beans, or just brewing a fresh pot of coffee on the stove. He is grateful to God that his health is good. But Nelson has not always been healthy. And he has not always had a meal to eat, never mind a kitchen of his own to cook in.
Six years ago, Nelson was living in New York City when his wife died. He needed to get away from there. The memories were too painful. He used to know people in Boston, so he decided to come here. When he arrived, though, he found that the people he had once known were gone. Still, he stayed because Boston was quieter than New York and there were no sad memories. But he had no place to live and very little money. He ended up at the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter, where slept on the floors, trying to avoid interacting with the other men. The noise and crowds there made him uncomfortable. Thankfully, after only a few weeks, Nelson connected with a case worker from Elders Living at Home Program (ELAHP) and they accepted him into their transitional unit.
Nelson moved upstairs away from the turmoil of the shelter. He points to his chest and his stomach, and explains that he has had two operations for cancer. ELAHP staff supported him through his recoveries, making sure he got to his appointments, and that he had his medications. ELAHP helped him apply for disability, and for housing.
Nelson’s favorite part about his apartment is having his own stove so that he can cook for himself. He wants people to know that there is help out there for people like him. He says, “I would tell people in my situation to go to Pine Street and talk to ELAHP. They helped people, and they keep on helping people.”