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MEET: Mr. Crawford

The VA told me about Friendship Place. We were sleeping in my truck at the time. I called and they were able to squeeze me in that day. The case manager, Mr. Mann, did not know me but with what he said, I felt a load of relief. He said, “Brother, we are going to help you. Hang in there; don’t worry about anything. You just need a hand up.” Those were the words I needed to hear.

I never looked back when I started with Friendship Place. It’s like a one-stop shop. As long as I did the footwork—and I am still doing the footwork—their program is solid. Mr. Mann told me to call him every day. He reached out and provided anything my family needed—food, toothpaste, gas for my truck, whatever I needed for my kids.

Another case manager, Miss Shields, took me out to see apartments. The first one I saw, in New Carrollton, I said, “This one is perfect; it meets all my needs.” The guy who owned it was reluctant to take a chance on me. Miss Shields vouched for my character. That meant something—letting him know I was not a person looking for a free ride.

We moved in on June 12. It was a relief—the girls were home. It’s not a luxury apartment, but I don’t care. I just need the basics. We have a good school here for my daughters.

That’s all that matters; they’re my world, my life, what I work for. Now my priority is getting employment. I know I can find a job to maintain this place; I have professional experience in food service.

I definitely stand by Friendship Place. Their program works. They gave me a roof over my head and a boost up that I don’t take for granted.

These reflections were excerpted from an interview done with Mr. Crawford in August. Friendship Place has assisted him with his job search and provided temporary rental assistance to give him time to find employment. Today, Mr. Crawford has a full time job at DC Metro—WMATA.

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