In the last ten years, the homeless epidemic has exploded and South Carolina has not been spared. While entities, both public and private, are working overtime to stem the tide of homelessness, one person in Summerville recognized a different need; the need to make life following shelter living feel more like home.
John Michael Stagliano, now 14, is the powerhouse behind “Home Again”, an organization which essentially consists of a young man with a big heart, a storage unit, and a whole lot of friends and family.
At age 12, Stagliano started preparing homemade meals, once a week, for the residents of the local men’s shelter. The men quickly became more than faces of the homeless, they became his friends. Stagliano wanted to help his new friends make a successful life after they met their markers for independent living and ultimately moved out of the shelter.
But starting over isn’t as easy. Overcoming addictions, poverty, and run-ins with the law are just a few of the obstacles. People leaving shelter life have poor credit histories, most can’t pass the background check required by apartment communities, and they have few worldly possessions.
Stagliano knew that while he couldn’t solve most of those issues, there was one that he could; helping men get furniture and basic household items to make day-to-day living, after leaving the shelter, something more than just a roof over their heads. “Home Again” was born. And while the name is recently official, Stagliano and his friends and his family have been working for over a year assisting men leaving the local Home of Hope men’s shelter.
This week marks a new beginning, not only for the new nonprofit, but for one female military veteran and her two teenagers. Tomorrow they leave a Charleston-area shelter and get keys to a three-bedroom rental. “Home Again” has a moving truck ready to deliver more than tables and chairs, beds and desks. With the donated furnishings comes a promise of not only a new life, but a home filled with the love and support of the local community…thanks to the vision of a young man and his generous heart.
Those wishing to donate furniture and other household items can reach John Michael via his new “Home Again” Facebook page.