A Place to Call Home

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Fortune Society client Vertell Dunham smiling.

Fortune client Vertell Dunham has been out of the criminal justice system for five years. Through the help of The Fortune Society, he’s successfully found a path to success. “Fortune has afforded me a second chance at life,” he says. “[They] gave me support, and helped me with my resume. Things I couldn’t really get done, they helped me with.” With the help of our Scatter-Site Housing program, Vertell has also found a new place to make his own.

Vertell shares two types of teas from his collection.

Having his own space gives Vertell the freedom to follow his passions— one of them is teas. “I love my teas,” he says, “Green tea, black tea, sassafras, golden seal. I go to Canal Street once a week [to purchase them]. I look at myself as an herbalist.”

Vertell is in his kitchen, looking at some of his teas.

For justice-involved individuals like Vertell, it is extremely challenging securing permanent housing options. As Vertell notes, without an organization like Fortune “it’s almost impossible.” Our services provided Vertell with a path to a productive reentry, while his own hard work and positivity allowed him to create a new, happy life from it.

Vertell is looking at his fiance, who is grinning at the camera.

Now, he enjoys his home with his fiance, and thrives in his job with the NYC Parks Department. “The job itself is good,” he says, “I went in there as an [entry-level employee]. Now, I’m a substitute [supervisor].” His success can also be credited to his outlook on life, which we can’t help but admire. “That’s what happens when you’re diligent and you’re positive,” he shares, “people see it.” We’re thrilled to be a part of his journey, and the journeys of other formerly incarcerated individuals. Their justice involvement does not have to define them, or limit their potential.

Vertell is standing outside of is apartment building.

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Help others like Vertell find a path to safe housing.

A link to The Fortune Society donation form

Categories: Community, Featured

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