Showing posts with label rescue mission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rescue mission. Show all posts

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Faith Based

“Faith Based” is the term used to designate any homeless service provider that is associated with a religion.

Fundamentalist Christians are known for operating rescue missions.

Catholics have St Vincent DePaul centers and a variety of services under the name of Ladies of Charity.   

The Salvation Army is also a Christian faith based organization.   

Those are the largest and most well known organizations, but there are many other faith based homeless service providers.  Some of these organizations require the homeless to participate in religious activities in exchange for services, but not all.

Faith-based groups provide the vast majority of homeless services in the United States, but in recent years the effectiveness of faith based organizations to end homelessness has been called into question.  A shift away from the faith-based paradigms is currently underway, moving services toward more scientific, evidence based, approach to dealing with homelessness.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Should I Title Every Post "Homeless"?

Finally, I see my blog, of the blog*spot variety, the one you are now reading, has finally appeared on Google's search engine - currently in the 5th slot on the second page. Perhaps now I'll start working up the chart again. It would be nice to be back on the first page. (It's not an ego or vanity thing, I assure you ;0)

I received an email confirmation from Dell that my laptop did in fact ship yesterday. Being that Dell is located in Nashville, it shouldn't take too long - Dell has a plant somewhere in Texas too, don't they?

Lots of homeless people have come down with a cough or the sniffles the past couple days, it could be a new cold bug making the rounds, or it could be Spring time allergies. There are holes in some of the shower areas in the mission with LOTS of mold showing. At least the mission has made toilet paper more accessible. A could days ago, several of those large paper roll dispensers were mounted onto the walls near the toilets - the dispensers were removed from the actual stalls shorty after the mission opened. Some homeless people are not very responsible with the supply of TP and so ruin it for the rest of us.

One thing that happened "to" me as a result of living in the rescue mission, is that I was exposed to TB, and now have the germ in me. I don't have active TB, but I always test positive. And yes, I tested positive many years ago. I tried getting on the medication for it, but could not keep up with the pills. Now that I will soon be in a more stable place, and have a case manager who is always on my case, I should be able to keep up with the program.

As I should be getting into a place, and though the rent will be subsidized, I will still be responsible for $150 a month. I will attempt to get part time work, but that is still an iffy thing. There are many ways to earn money on, but from what I've read, only 2 percent of the total population of SecondLife earn a positive flow income every month. Still, I'll have lots of time to dedicate to learning the ins and outs of SecondLife - more than most people - so, I'm going to give it a shot. But I'll still have to depend on Paypal donations for a while.

There is a way to make subscription style donations through Paypal - like a magazine subscription, as you set it up once to make monthly donations. I've not done that before - we'll have to just see how that goes.

Monday, April 7, 2008

There is nothing worse than nothing

And so it happens. Last night, while I ate dinner at the rescue mission, someone took off with my backpack. It is a requirement that people leave their packs outside the mission when going inside - this leaves personal items very vulnerable to theft, obviously.

I am now left with nothing but the clothes on my back. Everything else is gone, including my laptop. I am back to accessing the internet via the library.

Yes, this is a major setback.

It's been a week of setbacks. Full of promise, with my new case manager, only to be turned back at every attempt at finding housing. Even the best opportunity for housing is at least a month away.

It's not like this is the first time this has happened. I've made many other attempts at improving my lot in life, only to be sent back to ground zero. Sometimes it feels like there's no getting out of this hole.

You bet, I'm back to looking for another laptop. If you, or someone you know, has recently upgraded to a new laptop, and have not yet decided what to do with there older one, please consider donating it to my cause. I'm especially in need of a computer that can run - I had begun building a non-profit with the hopes of doing more homeless advocacy there.

You can most easily contact me via email at thehomelessguy AT gmail DOT com.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who Should Work Where? An Email Exchange

Dear Kevin,
Good morning. I thought I would write and introduce myself. I have been a fan of your blog for many years. Here in Columbus Ohio, I used to work in two different shelters and a supportive housing program for chronically homeless, mentally ill women. I have loved all of those jobs. Currently, I am unemployed and looking for work while going to school at OSU. I have had a terrible time finding work in my field because I never finished my degree.

You did a blog post a while back that had a tremendous impact on me and how I viewed my work. It was "A Day In The Life" and in it, you wrote about the resue mission. When I was hired as Director of Resident Services and Faith Mission here in Columbus, It was much like what you had described. I was fortunate to have an executive director who wanted to change the way the shelter operated and hired me to do it. I have been grateful to you ever since. We got rid of the security staff, created new positions called advocates who were assigned a case load of residents and were charged with the task of being their partners. Each advocate sat down one on one with their residents and co-created a plan for services. The number of residents who left the shelter for permanent housing tripled after that.

Sadly, I was laid off from there and shortly after, my former executive director resigned. The new director has re-instated the security staff and some of my former staff tell me things have gone back to the old ways.

I still believe that I was moving in the right direction. I had a vision of beginning a job training program to hire residents to work in the shelter. I think they would be far more sensitive to others and understanding of the obstacles than anyone else. So what do you think of homeless men and women working in the shelters?


Dear Mary,
Thank you very much for writing,
Letters like yours help me stay focused, reminding me that there is a bigger picture, and I am only a part of it.

There are people who are born and raised in the South, and they develop a very strong southern accent to the way they talk. But for whatever reason, they move away from the South, and after some time they lose the accent. Then they return home for a visit, and it takes almost no time for them to regain that Southern accent. And, there is a cliche' - "you can take the man out of the projects, but you can't take the projects out of the man." This is all preference to me saying that I think it's not a very good idea to have past homeless people become "case managers" as it were, to the currently homeless. It does sound like a good idea - I know that AA works that way, and perhaps for alcoholism it is effective.

But most people who used to be homeless, are usually living a life still very close to homelessness. Although they now have a home of their own, they are still living in abject poverty, bearly making it, and have many of the traits that make people suseptible to becoming homeless. At the Campus for Human Development, they require that a formerly homeless person be in a non-homeless state for at least 2 years, before returning to work there. Having the formerly homeless person back in the street environment makes them susceptable to becoming homeless again. More importantly - homeless people have to learn a completely new and different way of life (a new paradigm for life and living), and the best way to do that is to expose them, as much as possible, to the new and better way. It's like teaching a new language - total immersion works best. A homeless person with a case manager who continues to talk street, and has street mannerisms only inhibits growth in the new direction. Life on the streets is hard core, it is dog eat dog, (more literal than figurative), and so it requires one to be excessively selfish just to survive. And yes, the non-homeless people are also selfishness, but it is compartmentalized, (and more figurative than literal). The non-homeless person knows that civility is required to a certain degree, so to maintain the social framework in which to live. Most homeless people do not get that, or at least don't exercise it to the point necessary to maintaining an acceptable and functional place for themselves within the society.

What is needed are good and positive examples for the homeless to adapt. They need to be exposed to as much non-homelessness as possible. Som they would benefit most from case managers, security guards, chaplains, etc, who have never experienced homelessness. Also, non-homeless workers, who have been working with the homeless for a few years, will be effected by the homeless environment, and will lose their ability to reflect the non-homeless life on to the homeless. That is why I am so much in favor of term limits for non-homeless people working for homeless service providers.

Well, this email has grown long - I think I'll use it as a post on the blog. May I also use your letter to preface it? I will leave your name out if you so wish.

Again, thanks for writing,

Dear Kevin
Of course you can use my letter. and my name. I wrote you about that to get your opinion. I needed to know what it would take. I agree that a person needs to be immersed in non-homelessness in order to make it. You raise some very good points that I hadn't considered. I knew you would have a different perspective. I have been trying to figure out what it would take to end homelessness. If we were to return full funding for HUD housing, provide housing opportunites enough that no one would be with out a place to live, what would it take to assist someone to be able to remain in that housing and become stable again?

What kind of services are needed?


Dear Mary,
Because waiting lists for services are so long, service providers are tempted to tighten the restrictions placed on those receiving services. In many street rehab facilities, if a person relapses just once while in the program, he will be dropped from the program, and might never be allowed to return. That policy denies the reality the the average addict/alchoholic/street person will relapse many times before staying clean, and clear of trouble, long enough to leave homelessness. The goals are too high, the stress is too great. All such programs should impliment a more gradual approach - baby steps must be really small baby steps, and for a longer period than most service providers would expect. I know, budgets being as limited as they are tempts social workers to press their clients to achieve goals faster than they are ready to deal with. The best recourse would be to take on fewer clients at a time. And yes, I understand that organizations must make a good show - produce numbers that the grant givers expect - the grant givers expecations being very eskew of reality. It really is better to take on fewer clients at a time, and have a higher success rate, than to try to take on many clients, hoping that some how all their needs will be met.

For some service providers, if they had one hundred dollars, and one hundred clients, they would give each client one dollar. But it seems better to determine which clients would actually make good use of it, and select 10 clients to receive 10 dollars each. This applies to all services offered. It's the process of separating the wheat from the chaff.

Taking on 10 clients and putting all your energy into them, and having a percentage of them achieve success, is better than taking on 20 clients, and being able to only give half as much energy to them. More than likely you'll end up with fewer successes, not just in percentages.

In the Hud Housing First program, promoted by the, the 10% worst case homeless clients are said to consume the lion's share of services and resources available to all homeless people. So, they are instructing cities to develop Housing First programs to house those people. This would free up more services, for service providers to provide, for the rest of the homeless.

Sure, if we could get cities to do this, it would be great. But there is an obvious objection to it within city governments and the general population, and cities have been slow, if not dead in the water, concerning this development.

Personally, I think they should be applying this program from the opposite direction. They should be providing housing first options to the easiest to solve homeless cases first - not the worst. Single, unattached men are about 85% of the homeless population. It would take the least amount of services to rehabilitate their lives. So, focusing attention on that population of the homeless would drastically reduce the total number of homeless, in the shortest amount of time, and would free up as many resources for service providers, if not more, to be focused on the more difficult cases. Of course this is the opposite of the current paradigms, where women and their children come first - and single men come last - this really means that single men rarely if ever get the services they need. I imagine that if you rehabbed all the homeless men, you'd find the homeless women w/children population dropping, even without services directed at them, as these formerly homeless men will begin taking back the responsiblities of family.

Ok, well that took 40 minutes to write, so I'll stop for now - I really appreciate your questions.