Cornerstone Community Housing Celebrates 30 Years through Heartwarming Success Stories

Today, D.M. is successful. | CCH photo

For Cornerstone Community Housing’s 30th year, it’s sharing some older stories of the men and where they are now. CCH, based in Baltimore, helps men experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives and to change community attitudes toward homelessness through outreach and education. 

D.M. was one of CCH’s first residents. He said he was in a “wall-less” prison for eight years. He was not incarcerated but he was in the prison of drug addiction. He was insecure, shy, and untrusting. He grew up thinking his skin was too dark. He was too short. No one liked him. 

When Sheila Helgerson, executive director, first met him, he did not speak to her. Once, when Sheila said, “Hi, how are you doing?” he looked at her and said, “What do you mean by that?” In his mind, if Helgerson wanted to talk to him, he must have done something, and CCH was going to kick him out. She wouldn’t want to talk to a drug fiend like him. 

Eventually, D.M. realized that Helgerson had no hidden agenda. Hello meant hello. Along with his family and friends, he began to trust her. Helgerson says she knew she had made it when he introduced her at a meeting and said, “She’s alright.” 

Sheila Helgerson still talks to D.M. every now and then. Today, he is an MTA bus driver, is married, and has purchased a home. He has come a long way from that suspicious and angry man that Sheila first met.

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