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The Utah Bee, Spotlight: the INN Between: Katie Brooks

It’s hard to be told at 42 that your liver is dead and that the rest of your body will shortly follow. It’s even harder when you’re homeless. This was the reality for Ben, a man estranged from his family and expecting to live no more than a couple of weeks. He had nowhere to go . . . except for The INN Between. This nonprofit organization provides hospice care, along with other help and resources, to homeless individuals in the Salt Lake valley who find themselves in times of medical crisis.

When people like Ben come to The INN Between, they receive food, shelter, clothing, companionship, and medical treatment that they could never find on the streets. Many of them also find an emotional refuge and a place of trust among residents in similar situations and the compassionate volunteers.

The INN Between also offers programs to help residents improve their quality of life. For example, Ben realized that the damage to his liver was a result of alcoholism. Determined to make a change, he began attending the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings hosted at The INN Between. This, along with healthy meals that included fresh vegetables, helped Ben’s liver to begin healing. His progress was so good that he no longer needed hospice care. Through coordination with another organization, The INN Between arranged for Ben to be moved to permanent supportive housing.

Few residents of The INN Between recover as completely as Ben did, but even those whose bodies never heal are spared the suffering and indignity of dying on the streets. In addition, 92% of the residents are reunited with at least one estranged family member. This was true for Ben, who left The INN Between with much-improved relationships with his father and sister. Even those whose family members never come around have the chance to live with friends and caregivers who love them.

One way that the public can support The INN Between is simply by shopping. Partners of The INN Between include Smith’s, AmazonSmile, eBay, and the Utah Chamber Artists. Portions of validated purchases from these partners go to The INN Between. Instructions for setting up donation preferences with these partners can be found here.

Donors and volunteers are the reasons that The INN Between can continue serving. Volunteers are matched with activities that fit their skill sets and can help with almost anything, including organizing activities, housekeeping, preparing meals, planning events, and providing companionship for the residents. The INN Between also has a wish list of items that are always needed and can be easily donated. Friends interested in giving of their time, money, or other resources are welcome to visit The INN Between’s website.