Comfort and Chicken Soup

George, 61, has lived at Rose House, one of our supportive single-room occupancy (SRO) programs in Manhattan for nearly 30 years. Fiercely independent and proud, he has always kept to himself, never getting too close to neighbors or staff, despite their many attempts to invite him to movie night in the common room, or connect him to community services.

In the early days of the pandemic, George became very sick and was transported back and forth to the emergency room by ambulance several times.

Fearing he had COVID, George was terrified.

With COVID tests still scarce, George was never formally diagnosed, but staff suspected he had the virus as they learned more about its presenting symptoms. Erring on the side of caution, each time he returned to Rose House they asked him to isolate and George complied.

Staff were ready to keep George as comfortable as possible, physically and emotionally. They checked in on him daily and lined up a meal delivery service through the City’s emergency food program. They even brought him his favorite homemade chicken soup from a takeout place down the street. They made trips to the pharmacy and ran other errands, whatever he needed.

When George finally recovered, he felt touched that the staff would care for him like they did. It made him realize that he was not alone and that it was ok for him reach out for help, especially in times of crisis.

Today, George is much more engaged with staff and—for the first time since living at Rose House—has expressed how appreciative he is to be there. He is grateful to VOA-Greater New York for supporting him during one of his most vulnerable and difficult times.