“St. Patrick Center and the Hospital to Housing program saved my life. They were my guardian angels.”

Maurice had a regular life, one that changed dramatically when his mother passed away. “Mom was an active presence in my life. She motivated me to behave and when she was gone, I just lost it.” Maurice says he did all the wrong things with the money she left him: drugs, guns and prison time.

His diagnosis of mental illness at age 25 challenged him, too. “When I didn’t take my medication, things got bad.” Maurice was homeless after his release from prison. “Living on the streets is treacherous… I used to go to the hospital just to get some sleep.” Maurice would go to an emergency department and tell doctors his medication wasn’t working. They would send him to a clinic. “I would leave three days later and the cycle would start all over again.”

Enter Hospital to Housing, St. Patrick Center’s new partnership program with Barnes Jewish Hospital, BJC Healthcare, Foundation for Barnes Jewish Hospital and Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis. The primary purpose of Hospital to Housing is to identify frequent emergency department users who are homeless and provide them with housing and support services. Maurice joined Hospital to Housing and started working with case managers, doctors and nurses who encouraged him to work toward a better life. “It’s been a real wakeup call and it’s working. I want to take my meds and never be homeless again.”

Today, Maurice is happy in his new home and neighborhood. He hasn’t been back to the hospital and meets at least weekly with case managers and nurses. He’s rebuilding his life a piece at a time, enjoying simple pleasures like making cups of coffee. “St. Patrick Center and this program mean everything to me.” Maurice hopes to go back to school some day and start a small business.

See our Hospital to Housing Impact Report.

Published August 24, 2020