Identify Society Homeless 366 5/30/2024 Day 243, Thursday, Sad news and an Important Call

5/30/2024 Day 243, Thursday, Sad news and an Important Call

I woke up at my girlfriend’s apartment around 7:00 a.m. I got myself ready, and tried to look a little bit extra presentable since I had a teamwork building exercise that we were doing for the whole company today.

I arrived at Salvatore’s restaurant in Lawrence at around 8:30 a.m. where the whole company had a catered breakfast and we had a team building exercise with one of the board members of the nonprofit. It was actually the first training I’ve ever taken from the company that I work for. It was a decent team building training. Nothing too exceptional. I wish I had taken notes so I could share something with you here, but I didn’t. But don’t worry you’re not missing too much. The training was fun and the instructor was very positive. I got to meet employees I had never met before since the three programs that are run by the nonprofit I work for are very insular, and there’s very little communication between programs. I do wonder if this board member was paid to host this training because that would be a conflict, board members should not personally benefit from being part of the board, especially financially. But anyhow I will bite my tongue. I was just happy when the training was over so I could go back to work.

At 11:30 I arrived back at the shelter. I went through some of my messages and emails and I worked with the Northshore housing navigator to find a client that is high on our referral list for housing, for an available permanent supportive housing opportunity. I actually just called the client, something the Navigator could have done, but she wanted me to do it since I have a working relationship with the client. 

I had heard from some homeless people that there was an overdose death at the encampment behind West Street. I asked the homeless cop and he told me who the individual was. Come to find out it was a gentleman I had just put a housing application in for. He died of a fentanyl overdose. This saddens me, this crisis of opioid addiction has slipped so much life silently from this world. This man will not be forgotten in my mind, his name was Domingo. 

One of my homeless clients Liz is in need of a liver transplant from hepatitis C. She had been very poor with communication, but I was still trying to get her into a room somewhere so that she could be ready to go through the procedure of a full liver transplant. She needs to have a stable home to get a liver transplant. I’ve heard whisperings from another social service provider who works with Liz that her boyfriend comes home and beats her. This is very concerning, and I wish she would have better communication with me so that I could try to get her into a housing opportunity.

While I was pondering these situations I received a call from a local social service provider that I work with closely. They are actually a medically assisted treatment provider. Which to recap means they provide methadone, suboxone, and other addiction medications. They wanted to offer me $65,000 a year to do outreach for them. Which I ultimately turned down because I wasn’t ready to jump ship from my current position. If anything I would prefer not to work until my Homeless project is over so I can continue getting the story and content I need to create my book.

After I was offered the job, I spent a good amount of time on the phone with a clinical social worker for the department of mental Health who educated me on who could access DMH services for my homeless clients, and how they go about it. People with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar, or other severe mental disabilities would qualify. If the homeless client seemed like a good fit then you have to fill out a 27-page application. Here’s a list for adult qualifiers:

(3) Clinical Criteria for DMH Services.

(a) Adult Services. To meet the clinical criteria to receive DMH services, individuals 22

years of age or older, must have a serious, and persistent mental illness that, except as

provided in 104 CMR 29.04(3)(c), meets the criteria for the following qualifying diagnostic

categories specified within the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

Mental Disorders (DSM):

1. Schizophrenia Spectrum and other Psychotic Disorders;

2. Bipolar and Depressive Disorders;

3. Anxiety Disorders;

4. Dissociative Disorders;

5. Feeding and Eating Disorders;

6. Borderline Personality Disorder;

7. Obsessive-compulsive and Related Disorders;

8. Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders; and

which mental illness is the primary cause of functional impairment that substantially

interferes with or limits the individual’s performance of one or more major life activities,

and is expected to do so in the succeeding year.

At around 1:00 p.m. I went to McDonald’s and I brought ponchos for the people that hang out there, because it was raining. I engaged with Keith, Shirley, Todd, and Gun. 

When I returned back to the shelter I worked with the shelter guest Padrick to help get him a new license ID. Padrick had lost his ID when he got his wallet stolen while staying with other homeless people in a tent. Padrick has been very difficult from the beginning. He was brought to us by Ezekiel, who ultimately thwarted Padrick’s treatment by telling him to come back to the shelter when we didn’t have a bed, when Padrick was sited to go to a halfway house through the detox. My boss, the director, eventually let Padrick come back to stay at the shelter.

Since I’m writing this much later I should mention, Padrick was able to reunite with the mother of his child and she took him back in, that is until his bad habits and his behavior spirals out of control. If this happens Padrick might find himself back in the street, and maybe back in the shelter. What I have learned with a lot of the people that I’ve seen living in the street, is that they will find some form of home. They have done this many times, and time-and-time again they cycle back out into the street. At this point I feel like I have a good gauge of who’s going to do well and make it and who is still caught in the cycle. I wish Padrick the best, and hope he can be a good father to his child and partner to his girlfriend. Padrick is handsome and prone to vanity as well as blaming others and the world for his shortcomings and bad behavior. I expressed this to Padrick, and my Critique was taken in good faith. I wish the best for Padrick and pray he can take responsibility and accountability for his life and actions. 

At 4:00 p.m. I wrapped up my day by finishing out this outreach log. I learned today that the encampment behind the park at West Street had been destroyed and is now moved near the Fruteria Market. I also talked to the homeless officer who said that the encampment by the river behind Doyle Street is in Jeopardy of being moved because the water treatment plant behind the encampment has been complaining. I will look further into this tomorrow.

At around 5:00 p.m. I drove back to my campsite and began working on writing about my experiences as I have been doing. I have a call planned for 7:30 p.m. I’ll be talking with Jim Wahlberg who is the brother of Mark Wahlberg. My friend Tony Legreca who runs WMEX radio in Quincy has connected me with him and hopes that we could get together and do a documentary about homelessness.

Jim had his producer Tim on the line with Tony. We discussed homelessness and addiction. Jim said he would be interested in doing a documentary movie where I follow around 10 homeless people. I was really happy to have this call, but I am always apprehensive and in this project I’ve realized that I do not need help from anybody. I can create this miracle, monster, or mediocre play on my own. Whatever may come of this, the idea is to educate to help others understand Homelessness and the causes thereof. Because we are one people.

Instead of sleeping outside alone I decided to go to my girlfriend’s apartment and spend the night. I was pretty excited about the Jim Wahlberg phone call.

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