Images courtesy of Jerry Drisaldi, Zaldi Photography, LLC. used with permission. Visit site here.
In the System
Samuel was born in Grady Memorial Hospital and raised in Atlanta. At eighteen, he was arrested, tried and convicted of auto theft. After serving two years of his sentence, he was released on good behavior. Two years later, he was arrested again, this time for five counts of armed robbery. Again, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced, beginning a life of 38 years in various Georgia prisons. He has not seen his wife since this second incarceration. Samuel turned 66 in 2016.
No Place to Go
Upon his release in July of 2015, he found himself homeless. “I was on the streets of Atlanta”, but says eventually he found temporary shelter at the Union Mission.
Samuel had no plans upon his release from prison and nowhere to go. “I just wanted out,” he says. He hoped that he could escape homelessness, but had no idea how to make that happen. The Union Mission provided a place to sleep, but during the day Samuel was again on the streets.
At the urging of his parole officer, he made contact with Case Managers at Hope Atlanta. They were able to move him into temporary housing at Hope House, a transitional facility. He next obtained the necessary documents needed for proof of identification that would be vital before his next move toward permanent housing could begin.
Samuel and Ricky
The effort for permanent housing was exhaustive. Eventually, the efforts proved fruitful… Samuel is pictured above with Ricky, a Hope Atlanta Case Manager.
A Place of His Own
Samuel now has a place he can call his own. He says, “Now I have furniture, clothing…
I Thank the Lord Every Day…
…food, everything that I want and could possibly have right now. I’m doing real good! I think the Hope Atlanta people are very good. They stuck with me all the way. They got me off the streets and I thank the Lord for that every day.”
…and, Thank You Hope Atlanta!
He adds, “I’d like to go back to Hope Atlanta now just to see them and shake hands with everybody and let them know I really appreciate what they did for me.” Samuel has some words of advice. “To all the young peoples out there listening to me, don’t go to prison, don’t commit crimes. Live a good life where you don’t have to go into that system. All the young peoples listen to me: crime is not worth it.” Today, Samuel lives a life of retirement in College Park, Georgia. Thanks to the efforts of the people of Hope Atlanta, he is no longer homeless and has successfully transitioned from the prison system into society.