Identify Society Homeless 366 5/23/2024 Day 236, Thursday, Sweep or Treat

5/23/2024 Day 236, Thursday, Sweep or Treat

I woke up at my girlfriend’s apartment around 5:00 a.m. My director wanted me to come in early today, because of all the hubbub about the sweep and treat that the police were doing. My director was really upset about the operation, and thought that it was a violation of the homeless people’s civil rights.

Personally my biggest fear was that the police would treat the homeless people aggressively causing more trauma to them. I also feel that for some people living in the street abusing dangerous drugs, sometimes a good intervention is needed.

I arrived at the shelter at 7:00 a.m. Today is the day that the Lawrence police and local providers did the sweep and treat event, where the police pick up the homeless people in the streets and bring them to a location where they can access services and treatment or be brought to the police station on warrants or for trespassing. The police is set up a big tent and treatment centers and other social service providers set up tables to offer services.

At around 7:30 a.m. I called Winston, the man that I had found homeless in the streets the day before who had told me that he had been in the hospital in a coma for 7 years. He picked up his phone and said that he was at Cor Unum, a homeless meal provider. I asked him if he wanted to come into the shelter so that I could talk with him and do a coordinated entry onto the state housing list with him as well, and he agreed. I drove with The shelter’s housing specialist to pick up Winston. Winston came to the shelter and decided that he liked it here, and we were able to provide a spot for him on a mattress on the floor, in the dining area where he could sleep at night. This is how the overflow works at the shelter.

At around 8:30 Nicole and Corey stopped by the shelter. I’d seen them the night before at the TMF dinner and they were newly homeless. We did not have any beds available for them so I was able to secure a bed at the Southern New Hampshire rescue mission in Nashua. After that was established they went on their way to run some errands and said that they would follow up with me to let me know what’s going on.

At around 9:00 a.m. I drove with my director and the shelters recovery specialist and we went to the North Andover Police to establish a relationship in efforts to work with any homeless people that are in North Andover or between the City lines of Lawrence and North Andover.

When we arrived back to the shelter Padrick had been discharged from treatment. I had been working with Padrick and his case manager to coordinate continued treatment, but for some reason Padrick left treatment and came to our doorstep expecting a bed. What I found out is that Ezekiel, even though he no longer had been working in outreach, had spoken with Padrick and his case manager at treatment and told them that Padrick had a bed at the shelter, which was not true. This essentially destroyed all the work I had put into coordinating with Padrick’s case managers at treatment to get him into a long-term program. This is why people like Ezekiel are dangerous. He made a promise that he couldn’t keep to Padrick, and he pulled him out of drug treatment to be thrust right back into the street. We had no beds available, so after providing Patrick with food and some drinks and directing him to the methadone clinic for treatment, the only option was to drive him to his aunt’s house where he had a place to stay.

Johanna and her boyfriend Edward also stopped by the shelter. She is high on my list for housing so it was good to engage with her since I’ve been looking for her. This couple was seeking refuge from the sweep and treat. They were very tired so they hung out at the shelter, rested and ate a good meal. They both ended up getting beds at the shelter.

Just before 3:30 Cory and Nicole returned back to the shelter. I needed to facilitate a ride to Nashua. My director told me I could not drive out of state with The Outreach truck, so I paid for a lift out of my own money. It was about 40 bucks. I was just happy that they now had a safe place to stay.

After Corey and Nicole left I drove with one of the shelter workers, Winston, and Padrick to drop Padrick off in Haverhill at his aunt’s house and stop by the hospital so that Winston could get his jacket that he had stashed in the emergency room. When I went into the emergency room with Winston I met up with the overweight man that I met at the TMF dinner the night before, who was homeless and in desperate need of care. His name is Casey and he lived in that emergency room. It was close to the end of the day so I spoke with Casey and told him I would continue to engage with him in the emergency room or the bus station where he hangs out. I also spoke to the charge nurse and gave her the information of a specialist at another nonprofit that specifically does case management and coordinates care for people that live in emergency rooms.

After a long day I came back to the shelter and arrived just before 5:00 p.m. and finished up paperwork. I talked to one of my friends, Mike, who works for a detox and was at the event tent in the parking lot where homeless people were brought for the sweep and treat. Mike told me that it went well, and the police were really nice to the homeless people. Some people went on methadone treatment, and they even let some people with warrants go. I also heard from another one of my friends at a different agency that the police were bringing some people to the police station to get booked. Ultimately, I couldn’t verify if there was any mistreatment of the homeless and addicted in the streets during this sweep and treat. I still do think it is a good idea to shake homeless addicts up every now and again, as long as it’s done with compassion.

After work I drove to my girlfriend’s apartment and spent the night there.

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