This is part of a series of testimonies of residents at House of Hope, a transitional housing and drug recovery program in New Bedford.

Edith

Walking through the kitchen at “House of Hope,” a transitional facility on Mt. Pleasant Street in New Bedford, one might see Edith in the kitchen cooking or cleaning. She looks like any other volunteer who wants to give their time to a notable cause. Upon talking to her though, the fact that she is a resident there might be quite surprising for some.

At 68 years old, this woman, who is kind and intelligent, found herself without a place to live.

She has family in Florida but New Bedford is her home.

When asked how she came to find herself homeless, she said, “My boyfriend died. We had lived in the home that we rented for 30 years. The landlord decided that he wanted the house for his son and daughter. So I was served with eviction papers.

“Also, my boyfriend's family had a will. They came and took everything that was his, including the Jeep, truck and ATV,” she said.

“I couldn’t find a place because I have a dog — a beagle,” she said. “At first I stayed with friends. Right now, someone is taking care of my dog. I need to find an apartment in a safe neighborhood that I can have my dog with me.”

Another obstacle that Edith and others at the residence find themselves up against is the fact that landlords want first and last months' rent and a month's security deposit. It has been a year now.

Edith serves as a volunteer on numerous boards and committees in the city. It is hard to believe that she would be someone who is “homeless.”

“I called homeless advocates that I knew and no one could help,” she said. “One shelter even told me that they do not take anyone in on Thursdays because they spend that day in prayer.

“It was getting late and cold one night and I was close to the police station so I went in there,” she said. “The officer called House of Hope and then brought me here.”

According to Rev. Robert Hughes, director of House of Hope, the organization has a good relationship with the police chief and his department. “We never say no to the police,” he said. “Whether it is a domestic violence situation or something else — no matter what, we never say no to the police.”

Edith found respite at House of Hope. It is a place where anyone who wants help and is serious about getting their lives back in order is welcome.

“When I first came here I was scared,” Edith said. “I was embarrassed. I was sitting in the back of the cruiser on the way here.”

“I found God’s love here,” Edith said. “That’s why I like to help in the kitchen. I want to give it back.”

To find out more about the program call 508-996-6814. To make a tax-deductible donation, mail it to: House of Hope, 848 Mt. Pleasant St., New Bedford, MA 02746.