Camillus House

Camillus House Homeless Shelter

October 1st, 2010. Miami.

This year, Miami’s famous homeless shelter “Camillus House” celebrates its 50th anniversary and moves to a new location. They will continue supporting the people of the street with counseling, medical assistance, activities, education, food and shelter. Kamiel visits and gets a good impression.

Name: Camillus House
Aim: To eradicate homelessness in Miami
Since: 1960
People Reached:
Donation: 100 USD and a warm sweater

Since 1960 the homeless of Miami can count on the Camillus house, not only for food and shelter, but also for medical support, psychiatric counseling, re-education and integration efforts. It’s 50th anniversary also marks the date of a relocation and substantial increase of capacity. Camillus’ mission remains the same: to get the homeless of Miami off the street.

I visit Camillus house during a stopover between La Paz and New York, and before seeing a staff member, I have a few interesting conversations with friendly clients (who in one instance thought that I was there to solicit homeless support). They could arrange a meeting on the spot, and as I was led into the office, I was contented with experiencing a highly efficient charity.

Camillus explicit goal is to eradicate homelessness in greater Miami. They co-operate with a renounced college where their clients receive an education. The shelter also offers psychological counseling since many of the people who use their services have mental problems. There are chess competitions, visits to baseball games, and other activities that increase self-esteem and indirectly contribute to re-integration.

I decide to donate an old sweater, along with some cash, to be put towards Camillus’ well-established programs and hope to be an ambassador of their expertise elsewhere in the world.

Just outside I talk to some homeless people who are hanging out in the proximity of the House. They all have a unique story to tell, and unique reasons why they landed on the street. I speak to a construction worker from Trinidad who lost his job due to the crisis, and listen to him quoting from the Bible, the book that keeps many of Camillus’ residents and clients going.

There will probably be  homeless people in Miami in the decades to come, given the competitiveness of the society, but it is good to know that some of the city’s wealthier citizens, and many of its regular inhabitants, let goodness prevail over profit and donate money and time to the Camillus House. That teenage girl girl I saw walking into the waiting room might otherwise have a lot less hope.

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