Identify Society Homeless 366 6/10/2024 day 254, Monday, Goodbye Work, Hello Road

6/10/2024 day 254, Monday, Goodbye Work, Hello Road

I woke up at my girlfriend’s apartment around 7:00 a.m. Since my manager was not in on Friday, I was hoping she would be in today so I could give my two weeks notice. I left for work around 8:00 a.m.

I arrived at work around 8:30 a.m. and my manager arrived at 9:00 a.m. Shortly after she arrived I was able to get her alone in the office and let her know that I was giving my 2 weeks. I did love a lot of things about this job, and it fell in line with this project of homelessness and understanding the crisis we face in America. I never would have learned what I learned without doing The homeless outreach job. Not only did I learn the causes of homelessness, the primary cause today being addiction. I learned how to work with a large number of homeless people, I’d say about 70 consistently with a full caseload of about 130, and coordinate care with other providers so that people can have the care and attention that they need when their lives become unmanageable living in the street. I’m no stranger to this work because I did it for a wealthier population of people when I worked at Aware, I also practiced a lot of care coordination when I worked doing rapid rehousing at Elliot.

I will miss a lot of the people I worked with, every time you leave a place, and you leave people behind you miss them. At least that’s how I feel. The two aspects of life that I find most compelling are the ability to build relationships and make connections with people and the places we inhabit, and the ability to move on and rely solely on ourselves. I believe if a person can learn to effectively develop community, and also learn to rely solely on themselves, they can live a well balanced life without fear of loss or loneliness. The mastery of finding peace in solitude coupled with the ability to mesh well with others keeps one happy in all situations.

After I spoke with my manager, and gave her the sad news that I’d be leaving, I spoke with one of the shelter staff who told me that Winston had been moved to an assisted living home instead of coming back to the shelter. Our assessment of his condition was correct, Winston needed a higher level of care than the shelter could provide. The hospital social worker Karen, for all the complaining to our state funding agents and getting people in trouble, mainly yours truly, for informing Karen that Winston could not return to the shelter, was for nothing. I blocked the hospital social worker Karen’s number out of the Homeless Outreach work phone. I might have said this before, but I will reiterate. A lot of social service workers are weak-minded people who are good at complaining and pointing fingers, and are terrible at playing well with others and finding solutions. Karen is the epitome of everything that is wrong with our social service systems.

My next task was to follow up on the care that I coordinated the previous week. I called the clinical stabilization unit or CCS and I confirmed that JuanCarlos had arrived on Saturday. JuanCarlos’s schizophrenia must have been acting up and he was sectioned to a more intensive psych facility. This might be best considering the severe level of his mental illness. JuanCarlos had been living homeless either at the bus station or in his storage unit. That is what he’d reported to me. Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are very hard to treat. And oftentimes people who are schizophrenic will refuse to take their medication. I had stumbled upon JuanCarlos in the street, after he had just reconnected with doctors and been given a shot to treat his schizophrenia. I learned this when I communicated with the medical staff that works for the Medical Mobile unit, I work closely with, after they talked to him. One thing I’ve learned about treating the mental illnesses I come across in the street, is that it is a concerted effort that has the greatest effect. In doing this you have more minds and resources involved in finding remedies for the patient. Patients also get more connection with other people, whereas if they’re alone in the streets they can get lost in their own delusions.

I will say after having conversations with JuanCarlos, I saw the extent of his delusional thinking. In most cases people with schizophrenia are harmless and talk about fabulous things like owning the bus station, and being millionaires, political unrest, conspiracies, or other various things that might not make sense to most people. Sometimes though people with paranoid delusions can go over the deep end, especially if they’re isolated and suffering, they can hurt others. This has opened up my understanding to believe that effective outreach for those living in the street is of utmost importance, to protect our society from hurt people, sick people, who at any given time could go from harmless to dangerous out of desperation and isolation along with untreated mental illness. It is also important for those that are suffering in the street, that they have a beacon of connection and hope that visits them and shows them care and compassion.

I also called the harm reduction center and confirmed that Jesus went into detox, which I coordinated on Friday. He was drinking a gallon of vodka a day. I was happy that he made it to treatment, and I am hoping that he stays for the long haul. Instead of spending 5 to 7 days in detox and then discharging back into the street where there’s a good chance he’ll just start drinking again.

After making my follow-up calls the guy Martin that works at Market basket came by with another fellow he works with that had been fighting with his girlfriend and was now sleeping on his sister’s couch looking for housing. I informed him that he could find a cheap room on Facebook marketplace which he could afford with the money that he makes at work and transition from his sister’s house to his own room. I always encourage people who are struggling with financial difficulties, with the possibility of becoming impoverished to seek out social service support. The thing that bothers me the most about Martin is, that I have already explained to him that the services we provide are set aside for those with the most severe issues of homelessness and mental illness, and he continues to bring people to our doorstep that do not fall in line with the scope of our services.

The last kid that Martin brought to me for services, was a 19-year-old boy whose mother spoke mainly Spanish, whereas the boy spoke mostly English. He’d been fighting with his mother and had wanted to receive housing even though he was working full-time at Market basket. I had told the boy to bring his mother some flowers, after all she is his mother and gave him life. The boy’s major complaint was that his mother was getting on his case about playing video games too much. I also encouraged the boy to spend some of his paycheck on renting a room since he could afford it. The boy called me later and told me he did bring flowers to his mother which brightened her heart and quaffed their conflict. I encouraged the boy that if his mother did not want him playing video games in his room constantly, to set up some type of video game array in his vehicle and there he could play video games in privacy. I don’t know if the boy ever set up a video game console in his car. My point is that not everybody is a candidate for social service assistance. Some people just have to learn how to be more resourceful.

I took a ride over to The faith-based homeless day shelter at around 9:45 a.m. There I engaged with Carol who is deaf, who I had heard had passed away from an overdose but was actually just away in treatment. I also heard that her boyfriend Mateo had passed away, and she told me that he was also in treatment. The way I communicate with Carol is I just give her my work phone and she writes everything out on a note app. I’ve learned that I cannot believe everything homeless people tell me, so I’d been working to confirm whether or not Carol had perished, I had never gotten confirmation from the police and her live presence showed me that I was given misinformation. She put on significant weight and she seemed healthy, and she seemed clear-minded. I also gave Carol a big hug cuz I was so happy to learn that she was still with us! Carol told me that she had been staying with her mother but would be interested in coming back to the shelter where she and her boyfriend had stayed previously for a few days when they were actively using fentanyl and smoking crack. They only lasted at the shelter for a few days, the addiction and the call to the street was too strong. I let her know that I would talk to shelter staff to see if a bed was available at the shelter for her. While I was talking to somebody she stepped outside and she was gone. I will try to engage with her tomorrow.

I left The faith-based homeless day shelter and I drove to The food bank in Andover and picked up chicken donations for dinner for the night at the shelter.

After delivering the food I drove around Lawrence looking for Carol to see if I could get her in the shelter and was not able to find her. I spoke with various homeless people who were at the bus station. This included Keith, Donnie, Shirley, and Samara and Louisa who I asked to come to the Shelter so I could get her into detox.

Afterwards I stopped at McDonald’s on my way back to the shelter and I engaged with Craig who is fresh out of prison and said he might need clothes. I asked him to stop by the shelter after 3:30.

I came back to the shelter a little after 3:00 p.m. I was sitting in a chair by the fence outside the shelter waiting for homeless clients to stop by When Allie said through the fence that somebody was having an overdose by the taxi cabs. I grabbed my backpack with narcan and I jumped the fence and there I found Louisa who was barely conscious sitting in a chair by the taxi cabs. The abandoned tracks and taxi cab parking lot behind the shelter is a well-known shooting gallery for a lot of the homeless people.

Myself and Allie assisted Louisa back to the shelter, where we called an ambulance for her. No narcan was admitted because Louisa was coming in and out of consciousness and she was taken away by an ambulance. When all this was said and done it was a little after 4:30 and this compiled my day.

I left the shelter in my little car, on the weekends I sometimes swap my truck for my little car because driving keeps the car alive. I drove back to the George Park parking lot in Danvers where I keep my truck or little car to alternate between the two. I picked up my truck there. I’m afraid to drive the little car up my secret driveway, to my isolated campsite, because I almost bottomed out the little car and ripped the radiator out of it one time backing out of my secret driveway.

Getting ready for the road

I drove my truck back to my campsite and I settled in for the night.

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