Identify Society Homeless 366 2/6/24 Day 129, Tuesday, Balancing Life and Homelessness

2/6/24 Day 129, Tuesday, Balancing Life and Homelessness

5:30 a.m. I woke up at my girlfriend’s house. I get my stuff ready for the day and I drive out to eat breakfast at Cor Unum. I took the work phone home with me, so I can get the information of some of the people I meet at the breakfast. Ultimately, I would like to reach every homeless person in Lawrence and get them in the system so that I can update their chart and provide them with all the surfaces that they need overtime.

6:15 a.m. I’ll eat breakfast at Cor Unum. I am able to connect with some people that are living outside. I got their information into the work phone. While I’m doing this, a woman worker at Cor Unum pulls me aside and tells me that I cannot be bouncing from table to table and using my phone. I explained to this woman that I am doing homeless outreach so that I can help provide services for the people. She’s very rude to me and mentioned something about drug dealing. I emphatically informed this woman that I have absolutely nothing to do with that. This woman suggests that I talk to their director, which I would be more than happy to do. I also ask for this woman’s name and information which she refuses to give me. I think she realized that she did a poor job trying to communicate with me her concerns about the work that I’m doing, in relation to the work that Cor Unum does. I’m going to keep this experience under my hat for now.

7:00 a.m. I arrived at work. I see the stray cat who comes by for food. Sometimes he is accompanied by his brother that looks just like him. Today my work partner is in. This is not the first time I’ve met my fellow outreach worker. We met when I came last week to visit. My partner informs me that today we will be going out into the street. I’m really excited for this. We spend a couple hours loading up supplies like socks, hats, gloves, into the car. My partner puts together some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some snacks. We also have to make sure that we have a clipboard to get information, as well as medical supplies like narcan and first aid. I have been working pretty diligently. I’m putting together local resources on a resource guide, also I’ve been working on getting used to the database and reporting system that we will be using.

9:00 a.m. We drove out to meet up with various people living in the street. First off is a park. There’s quite a few people hanging out here. We stop and talk to people and get their information which will be uploaded into the system. We asked them what services they might need and took notes. We also give them food and supplies. As we drive around the very spots, one theme I notice throughout Lawrence is all the trash everywhere. I feel really sad for the city of Lawrence who has done very little in the upkeep and beautification of the city. I’m hoping that the work we do will improve the lives of those living in the street, and hopefully get a lot of people off of the streets if that’s what they so choose. It would be good also to advocate that the city does a better job cleaning up all the trash. We talked to roughly 30 people. At one spot we stopped there had been a man who had amputated legs and was living under a truck. He was found dead in his wheelchair the day before. I was sad to hear this. We were able to get a couple people off of the streets and into shelter.

12:30 p.m. After a morning of connecting with the people out the street. We spent the afternoon in the shelter. I talked with my new managers. I also worked on putting together resources and doing some networking. We will be working closely with the city, police, fire department, hospitals, and other agencies as well.

4:00 p.m. I leave work a little bit late. I’m doing my best to hang around and get to know everybody and learn the cadence of my new workplace. I drove over to Cor Unum to have dinner. The food is free, and you get served like it’s a restaurant. I really love the experience, and I seem to make a friend every time I go there. I’ll be doing a lot of outreach work at the homeless meal places. 

5:10 p.m. I drove out to my camp. I grabbed a trash bag and one of my hiking packs that are filled with all of my blankets, sleeping bags, and my blow up mattress. I hiked down to my tent and I got my bed set up. My old client whose mother had contacted me, he got back to me via text message. He said he wanted to talk on the phone. I gave my old client a call, and we discussed some of the things that have been going on in his life. It seems that he had made some bad decisions around drinking and substance use, as well as getting in a car accident. We discussed the situation and discussed the potential for a pattern of future bad decisions, and the effect that toxic relationships have on our lives and our health. I end up sending my old client a couple books. How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie and a relationship building book called Eight Dates by John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman, two of the most renowned relationship researchers out there. 

8:00 p.m. All though it’s a little bit slanted I’m pretty comfortable in my tent on my blow up mattress. I have plenty of blankets and my sleeping bags. I am not bothered too much by the cars driving by. I talked to my girlfriend before I went to bed. I drift off to sleep and although it gets a little cold I have a good night’s rest. I’m still struggling with the RSV, but there’s not much I can do about that.

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