Someone Who Listens

Out of the wild variety of calls the 211 Statewide Helpline receives each week, occasionally our specialists connect with a caller who has a simple request — for somebody to listen and to be heard.

Earlier this year, John Doe called 211 to share an idea for supporting individuals experiencing homelessness on the North Shore. He’d reached out to a few other organizations in the community; however, he felt none were open to hearing out his solution of repurposing retired city buses as portable temporary housing.

Later on in the conversation, it was revealed that John had recently been evicted from his home. When the call began, however, it wasn’t this that burdened him. After being turned away countless times, he felt ignored and alone. After hearing so many “no’s,” 211 was the first to listen and say “yes.” The specialist ensured him that his idea has value and encouraged him to continue sharing. He ended the call feeling hopeful, his sense of purpose renewed.

This call was a reminder that solutions for solving our community’s greatest challenges can come from chance encounters. Every individual can contribute to the movement for change, especially those like John who brings a unique perspective and passion to the table. When you lend an ear to a person in need, you never know where the conversation will lead.