Thursday, December 17, 2009

shelter challenges to overcome.

The sector of the homeless population that is most difficult for shelter workers to help is the mentally ill. Their behavior makes it difficult for them to conform to basic shelter rules so most times they remain on the street. I observed an instance of this Wednesday evening when a female shelter guest opted to walk the streets instead of receiving shelter services. She complained that her belongings were too far from where she slept. She wanted to bring a full sized shopping cart into the female sleeping area and park it next to her bed. We allow guest to stage their shopping carts and bikes in a nearby indoor garage area. For her this was unacceptable. I tried convincing her that after something to eat, a shower, and some sleep, she would feel much better. She refused services and left. I felt deflated. My heart is still heavy............. its Friday.


Anonymous said...


Dani said...

Wow, heart aches over this, too.


Anonymous said...

Sooo true. There are no words to explain how underserved the mentally ill population is. It is a segment of society that is so stigmatized, and no one really wants to TRY and understand.
You are right, many mentally ill people end up homeless because there is not enough housing for the MI. If they don't have family to help, they will probably end up on the street.
I understand your sadness over not being able to help this client. I too have done alot of volunteering with PADS and have had similar experiences. I am HAUNTED by people who are homeless. It is an existence no one should have to live through. I wish there were more people who cared enough about this problem to address it correctly. There are nowhere NEAR enough shelters, and the suburban shelters are not 12 month, 24 hr. shelters. It is heartbreaking. Try being out in the cold in a Chicago winter. There are people who are. It should not be. No one deserves not having a roof over their head.