If you’ve spent much time around Jubilee Housing, you’ve probably heard the name Ronnie Middleton. From sitting on the Board of Directors to manning the grill at Jubilee Youth Services’ summer cookouts, Ronnie has a knack for involving himself in many aspects of Jubilee life.
But Ronnie wasn’t always such an active community member. For over 20 years, he was homeless—drinking, doing drugs, and spending time in and out of shelters. “I had accepted that homelessness was my way of life,” said Ronnie. “It’s easy to fall into the acceptance of that lifestyle – you have no responsibilities.”
Ronnie began to take charge of his life, however, when he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2010 and sent to recover at Christ House, a health care facility for homeless men in Adams Morgan. There, Ronnie was invited to be a part of Christ House’s Kairos program for men struggling with substance abuse, which is housed in Jubilee’s Euclid building.
“I embraced the challenge,” he said. “I decided I would change my way of life.”
As a resident of Jubilee Housing, Ronnie became involved in its Resident Life programming, including Leadership 101 class. “The class gave me the opportunity to present myself in a different way,” Ronnie said. “I guess I caught the attention of someone, because next thing I knew I was asked to join Jubilee Housing’s Board of Directors.”
In addition to serving on the Board, Ronnie keeps busy working at Christ House, serving with Jubilee Youth Services, and studying computer science at University of the District of Columbia. “My focus now is being a better person in the community, a better citizen,” he said. “I am hopeful to continue living at Jubilee and to help the organization continue to grow.”