Carlin’s Story: A legacy of laughter.

Some stories just stand out because they’re such an inspiring account of resilience, compassion and transformation. Carlin’s is one of those stories. His isn’t just a tale of moving from one living space to another many times over; it’s about finding a true home, a place where someone with complex needs — and an atypical personality — isn’t just accommodated but celebrated for who they are.

The Journey to Hope

Carlin’s life was marked by a series of voluntary, and increasingly involuntary, relocations from less-than-ideal living conditions due to his medical and cognitive challenges. That all took a turn when he arrived at Hope House. “Hope House was the first place that Carlin ever really called home,” shared Karen, his court-appointed guardian, charged with advocating for his care. That simple statement summarizes what makes Hope House different: it’s not just a place to live; it’s a place to belong.

“Carlin loved Hope House so much that I feel like I need to honor his memory and express his gratitude for what they did for him,” Karen said.

Indeed, Carlin’s journey to Hope House was not an easy one. His needs were complex, requiring meticulous medical attention and careful coordination for conditions including brittle diabetes and HIV combined with the need for behavioral and cognitive support. Finding a facility equipped and willing to handle such a multifaceted case was challenging. “We got a lot of Nos when we were looking for a place for Carlin,” Karen recalls. “The situation at the group home where he was living had, over the years, deteriorated to the point where I was going out there two to three times a week just to make sure he was clean and safe.”

Then, she found and toured Hope House. She was impressed that the other residents seemed happy and were excited to show Carlin their rooms. Choosing to move Carlin to Hope House when she did was a decision she says she never regretted. Hope House welcomed Carlin, not as a burden, but as an opportunity to provide care, love and a true sense of community and belonging.

Welcoming Carlin Home

From the moment Carlin walked through the door, he was embraced by a community ready to adapt to his needs instead of forcing him to fit into a preconceived mold. The residents and staff welcomed him with open arms, offering a personalized space and even modifying it to ensure his comfort. “The rooms were glorious…it really should be that you get your own ensuite bathroom when you’re living in a group home because that’s your home,” Karen said. At Hope House, Carlin did.

To say Carlin’s experience at Hope House was transformative is an understatement. He didn’t just become a happier, more content version of himself with far fewer behavioral issues; he changed and impacted all those around him too. And he thrived. No longer the outcast, he formed deep and long-lasting connections with both staff and fellow residents. “He loved the staff, and they loved him,” Karen said.

Finding Comfort in Laughter

Over time, Carlin’s sense of humor became a mainstay at Hope House and the surrounding community. He was known as a bit of a flirt, complimenting all the ladies he encountered as ‘little ladies’ or ‘lovely ladies’ and referring to all the men as ‘Daddy-O.’” He was also known to cuss like a sailor, which didn’t always align with his surroundings, but made for funny story times around the house later. Those who knew him say he was never afraid to say what was on his mind. Stories of Carlin are sure to echo in the halls of Hope House for many years to come. Stories of his mischievous personality and the laughter that always ensued. Carlin’s legacy lives on.

“Carlin was very very sick the whole time, you know, but you would never know he was sick. You’d never know,” said Corhea Givens, Hope House Care Partner now House Manager who provided one-on-one care to Carlin for many years. “No, he didn’t look sick, and he did not complain, not at all.”

Getting His Final Wish

Unfortunately, Carlin’s journey met its match, and Stillwater said goodbye to him in August 2023. But, not before he returned to the place he called “home.” “He expressed a strong desire to me to get back to Hope House, and it was hard because of everything that was going on with him medically, but he did get on hospice and get home the day before he died.” Karen said.

“At Carlin’s Memorial ceremony, one of the neighbors stood up to speak about what he meant to her,” Karen said. “And that shows that Hope House is facilitating those kinds of connections. And somebody came from dialysis too. They supported his friendships.”

His life at Hope House was marked by so many moments of joy, a stark departure from his prior experiences. A new version of himself.

Join the Mission

Carlin’s story is just one of many that represent the life-changing impact of Hope House. “He called it home. This is my home,” Karen said, echoing Carlin’s own words — a sentiment that resonates with the core mission of Hope House.

We invite you to become part of this extraordinary community. Your support can help us continue to provide a haven for those in need, a place where every individual is seen, heard and valued. Join us in our mission to transform lives and offer hope.

Carlin’s journey is a powerful reminder of the impact of compassion, understanding and community. It’s a call to action for all of us to contribute in whatever way we can to ensure that Hope House continues to be a light for many more like Carlin.

Support Hope House Today!

Your generous gift will enable us to be the gateway to good health for so many who cannot afford it on their own.