Thursday, August 16, 2012
Homeless 18 yr old girl - any ideas?
"We're seeing the same kind of numbers," she said, "that we usually see in the winter." We commiserated with each other a bit. I chose to wait to insist they shelter this girl until I tried some other options.
I have a call into the homeless coordinator at the Springfield School Department, because the girl is still in high school. I also have a call into Sr. Sanga, who runs Annie's House, although she never has an opening. Last time I talked to her, she told me that the women just weren't turning over, because they couldn't fuind housing they could afford.
I called my girl back to tell her what I was trying, and to ask her a little more about how she became homeless.
"I've been in a foster home since I was 14, and when I was 18, I was stubborn and signed myself out of DCF custody," she said. "Then I stayed at the Worthington Shelter for six weeks. Then I went to stay with a friend in Worcester, but it wasn't safe-- the people in his house do drugs and I don't, it was pretty crazy there."
I suggested she try to sign herself back into DCF-- not easy, but not impossible.
Anyone have other ideas?
With what we know is happening to homeless families, all I can do is echo my girl and say, It's pretty crazy out there.
UPDATE: REALLY, REALLY BAD NEWS! Friends of the Homeless has a NEW policy-- if you've been staying at one of their shelters and leave for what is considered to be a "housed" situation, you are not eligible for shelter for a year! My girl is technically in that situation, but I spoke to the director, Bill Miller, who is going to call her and who might be willing to make an exception.
But more bad news: Bill says that those in the overnight shelter are going to have to come up with a housing plan, and if the "guests" are considered to be "noncompliant"(a pretty subjective term), they will have to leave. He says there are no time limits on shelter-- yet.
You would think the provider world would be more aware of what happens when you put people in a corner and give them no way out.