Identify Society Homeless 366 3-7-2024 Day 159, Thursday, Building a Homeless Outreach Program from Scratch

3-7-2024 Day 159, Thursday, Building a Homeless Outreach Program from Scratch

5:30 a.m. I Woke up at my girlfriend’s apartment. It’s raining pretty hard. The people outside on the street are walking around and some are hunkered under overhangs seeking shelter from the rain. I collected my things, gave my girlfriend a kiss goodbye and headed out to work

I love driving down the road along the river that leads to my work and connects the two cities along the river. I haven’t spent this much time looking at a river before and I realize how impressive it truly is.

At 8:15 the Outreach team drove to the Family Dollar on the South side of town to check on Nick who lives between the heaters behind the Family Dollar. Nick has been homeless for over 30 years and he frequents a local meal Center and market basket. Nick was not there. 

After checking on Nick, while driving past the Essex laundry we encountered James, James refused to give us any other information besides his first name and didn’t want any services. We provided James with food and sent him on his way.

After engaging with James, the Outreach team drove through market basket to see if anybody was sitting on the benches to get out of the rain. Alas no homeless people were to be found.

We then drove past the methadone clinic. No people were to be found there. Perhaps because of the rain. Although people actively use fentanyl in the streets, a good portion of the opioid addicts also get methadone on a daily basis.

The Outreach team next went to Bay road behind the boys & girls club. There we encountered Alexa and her boyfriend Manny living in a tent by the river. We provided them with food, and some hygiene products. Alexa returned to the shelter with the Outreach team for blankets and dry clothes. The outreach team also engaged with Lena who refused to give a last name but took food.

Alexa decided she wanted to stay in the shelter and the Outreach team did an intake with Alexa. We also put together some supplies for her boyfriend such as blankets, jacket, and clothes. Alexa asked to go back to get the remainder of her stuff from where she was staying in the tent behind the boys and girls club. The Outreach team brought Alexa back there, and Alexa said she would return back to the shelter when she has all her stuff together. We did not want to leave her there too long and planned on cycling back so that we could bring her back to the shelter. Alexa and her boyfriend Manny struggle with severe substance use disorder, mainly fentanyl.

Next, the Outreach team stopped at the park next to the fruit market. My colleague called Uriel on his phone, a man that lives in a tent on top of a picnic table by the river, to see if he wanted anything, he said he was good on supplies for today.

The Outreach team stopped at Citgo gas station to fuel up. We received a call from the shelter about Jose who had asked to come to the shelter so he can work on his recovery the day before. The Outreach team asked the shelter Boss to have Jose wait at the shelter. The Outreach team drove back to Bay Road behind the boys & girls club to see if Alexa would like a ride back to the shelter after collecting her items. Alexa asked the Outreach team to come back in an hour and she would be ready. While driving the outreach team saw Alissa, a young woman who struggles with substance use disorder, and is known in the area for prostitution. We stopped and gave Alyssa some food and some warm weather gear, like hats, gloves, scarves, and a jacket.

The Outreach team met with Jose. Jose was given permission to come back and stay at the shelter, although in the past he had been at the shelter and had an issue. Jose’s plan is to work on himself and his recovery from crack cocaine. While at the shelter Pedro, a man who is known for living in the streets for quite some time, stopped by and asked for a bed. There was not a bed available and Pedro was directed to come back around 2:00 p.m.

The Outreach team traveled back to Alexa’s encampment on Bay road. Alexa’s boyfriend Manny told us that Alexa had started walking towards the shelter. The outreach team did see Tommy and gave him some food. Tommy didn’t want any other help.

Next the Outreach team drove to the Community action Center at 1:00 p.m.  to have a meeting with one of their social workers Katherine about services that they provide, as well as they’re housing department.

2:10 pm the meeting at the community action council is completed. We gained a lot of knowledge about the services they provide like masshealth, housing, wic, and food stamps as well as other family services. The Outreach team drove over to the shelter to do paperwork and wrap up the day’s hard work.

3:00 p.m. I jumped on a zoom with my family to discuss caring for my father who has fallen and now he cannot walk. I’ll be visiting my father in April. He lives in Arizona. His health is declining yet he does not want to move back to Massachusetts with his family. 

After the Care Coordination call about my father, I drove to another organization that helps people with mental disabilities. They invited me because they were having a guest speaker, who I know locally, that does work with homeless people, who was giving a speech on housing. Since the speaker did not show up I was asked if I would do the speech, and I obliged. Towards the end of my speech, word came that the original speaker would be showing up. When she arrived she gave a great speech, and we all had chicken broccoli ziti. I also made a new contact with a woman who was interested in staying at the shelter I work out of.

After the dinner I drove to my secret campsite. I picked a spot a little way up the hill away from the water and cleared it out to set up my tent. I want flatter ground. I would like to be a little ways away from the water as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to move my tent tomorrow afternoon. I settled in the tent working on a few things and scrolling through social media. By 8:30 p.m. I was in bed. 

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