“Cuba” (also known as Jorge … pronounced the Spanish way) has been at Old First’s shelter every year Michael has been at Old First. In fact, he’s been around here 4 more years than Michael, for a total of 9.
But no more. Last week, he left homelessness and moved into his own apartment at 20th and Christian, a place called Century House, a building that offers affordable housing to people with limited income. And he will be neighbors with another alumni of our shelter, Rogelio or “Panama.” Many thanks to the staff of our partner, Bethesda Project, that made his placement possible!
Jorge will have to pay about 1/3 of his monthly income for rent, mostly his social security, which will make it well below market rate. But it will be a big deduction from the total he has for his monthly expenses.
Jorge is Cuban. He arrived in the U.S. in 1980 by boat with a bunch of other refugees. He had been a wrestling coach back in his native land. Here in the U.S., he found work in kitchens, mostly cleaning and doing dishes. Most recently, he washed dishes at the Italian Restaurant at 3rd and Cherry Streets, around the corner from Old First. He never had a lot in the U.S., and when work become unsteady, he didn’t have a cushion or family to fall back on.
Michael talked to Jorge on his last night with us at the Shelter, expecting him to be excited. However, he was feeling a bit melancholy, or at least uncertain. As he said, “This has been my way of life for a decade. Now it’s changing, and I’m not sure what to expect.”
Let us keep Jorge in our prayers as he finds his footing in permanent housing.