One in every seven people in this country will experience homelessness during their lifetime. Just ask Macy DeLong, a former biology researcher at Harvard University. For nine months, DeLong slept on subway gratings, alleys, in her car, or in the graveyard only blocks away from her lab at Harvard where she managed a staff of twenty-five people.
Social workers and doctors reacted as if she were delusional when she told them that she’d been a Harvard biologist. DeLong recalled, “I had wandered through what the state had to offer a homeless person, from dangerous shelters to indifferent doctors. No one offered me an opportunity to work, to sign a lease, to get back my life.”
DeLong’s experience on the streets altered her perspective forever. In 1989 she joined forces with a group of other homeless people to found Solutions at Work.
Today, half of Solutions at Work’s staff and several board members have experienced homelessness. These team members help ensure that Solutions at Work’s programs and services continue to meet the needs of people living in poverty. They also ensure that Solutions at Work remains inclusive, respectful, and compassionate, values that informed the birth of the organization more than two decades ago.
Macy DeLong remains actively involved with Solutions at Work as a member of our board of directors. She is the executive director of English at Large, a nonprofit organization that provides free English instruction (ESOL/ESL) to hundreds of immigrant adults in Greater Boston annually.