Super Senior: Judi Joy

Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 4:12 PM EDT
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Judi Joy has a name to fit's her personality. She's outgoing and happy, but she has had her own struggles.

Joy's idea of heaven is an old victorian home in the middle of Barre. "I love this job. This is... I can't imagine being anywhere else but here," she said.

The Good Samaritan Haven is a 30 bed co-ed homeless shelter. Precisely at 6 p.m. Joy unlocks the doors and welcomes residents as they return. The shelter, the only one in Central Vermont, will fill up for the night.

It's been in Barre for over three decades and the 76-year-old Joy has been managing the place for the last six years.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Are you spiritual?

Judi Joy: Very. That's why I'm here. That's why I do what I do... I'm called to do this and by doing this, it allows me to live my faith everyday.

Angie Catalanotto, who is spending her first night at the shelter, blows a breathalyzer for Joy. It's not a dry shelter -- meaning residents can have alcohol in their system, but they can't be intoxicated.

Catalanotto said the night before people were physically abusive towards her. "Because the situation that I was in, I feel that I've been rescued," she said.

"It can be really sad, it could be really sad. But it's a blessing to be able to help," Joy said.

Joy got some self help years ago in Maine. She was going through a divorce. "It was horrible. He was my soul mate. It was horrible. But he had a breakdown and he felt he didn't have the energy to invest in anyone but himself," Joy said.

She reinvented herself with a new state and a new name. "So my last name was Goodenough -- I love it, just love it," Joy said.

"She tries to be the best person she possibly can, tries to help everyone else be the person they can be," said Frankie Barnett, a shelter resident.

"She cares about folks, you know. She does what she can and she don't take no guff either," said Robert Logue, a shelter resident.

But there are critics. They say the shelter brings in people from all over, not just the homeless in Barre, and puts a stress on social services and the police.

"Some people you just see are what you call gaming the system, but that's the tiniest minority," Joy said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: How many tats you have?

Judi Joy: A lot...yeah.

Her latest tattoo Is from a song. "You get what you give. The love that you live, that's all that there is, you get what you give," Joy said. It may be on her wrist but she wears her heart on her sleeve. "I get teary a lot."

Bringing joy into people's lives when they need it the most. "It's true. I live the love I have in my heart. And I feel that I get it back from so many people," Joy said.

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