On Easter Sunday last month, Ascencia client Stephen Gish passed away, surrounded by family. Unlike many of our homeless neighbors who die alone on the streets, when it was finally time for Stephen, he had loved ones by his side.
Stephen struggled throughout his life with mental illness and addiction. After years of homelessness, Stephen found Ascencia, entering our 40-bed emergency shelter in 2013. His Case Manager Jenni worked with Stephen getting him enrolled in our Shelter Plus Care program which provides permanent supportive housing and ongoing case management for chronically homeless clients. She visited him often, connected him to an in-home caretaker and a meal delivery program, and went with him to his doctor appointments.
Stephen was a prolific artist, painting dozens of canvases all with a singular message warning against the suffering that results from drug abuse. His goal was to teach the youth of his community about drugs so that they would not have to suffer as he did.
We miss you, Stephen.