Homelessness often happens in unexpected ways; for Phil Colbert it happened when he followed his sister onto the street to protect her. That decision unfortunately led him into a world he was unprepared for and it wasn’t too long until he fell in to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime. Ultimately, it ended him in prison, and with mental health issues. Colbert is 52, and he has been struggling to get back on his feet. He has been married and divorced twice, has two grown sons he hasn’t seen in 18 years — and his greatest wish is to reconcile with them. He wants to get back to performing gospel music, which he calls his “ministry.” God, Colbert said, has gotten him through a lot.
In an effort to achieve these goals he has connected with programs in his area that help homeless people obtain housing, and he was grateful to be off the street, but a stereo and a few blankets do not make a home. That is where The Shed came in, the garage-turned-furniture-shop is owned and operated by Rebecca Margao, who knew what it was like to be displaced, and she and some volunteers gathered together and they redesigned Phil’s apartment to be more of a home, giving him a futon, a tv, cookware, and more. After Margao’s redecoration of his apartment, Colbert returned to the revamped space on his birthday. “For the first time,” Colbert said, “I felt like I was at home.” His younger brother came over that night, and Colbert cooked hamburgers. Then they ate together at the dining room table that Colbert had wished for, in a home that was his own.
That sense of home, that opportunity for family gathering, that makes for a Good News Story of the Day and you can read more about it here. Cherish what you have, help those without, if you are stuck for how to help – then check with those in the know. There is always something to be done. If you are looking for where to help in Brantford; perhaps start here.
Story and Image from The Washington Post.