Calling for help

Posted by Carey Fuller in Homelessness

Ta daaaa! Here I am showing folks what it sounds like when calling for help. If you’ve never called around to get into a shelter, here’s your chance to see what it’s like. I am still amused whenever I see comments out there from people that still think getting out of homelessness must be as simple as just going to a shelter. The reality is, there aren’t enough of them and the shelter system needs to do more than be a revolving door. Thanks to budget cuts, loss of jobs and a overwhelming bureaucracy, it should be no surprise to anyone when individuals begin to give up hope.

On a recent visit to the Nickelsville tent city I visited a few days ago, a young mother told me she called 75 shelters and couldn’t get in because they had no room. She has only been homeless for about two weeks now. Imagine doing this year after year. Makes living out of a van while working to save money look a whole lot better, doesn’t it?

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18 Responses

  • Lee says:

    It’s so rare to get a person to pick up the phone these days.
    I live about 7 minutes from the nearest Welfare Office I can drop off the application but when they need me to come in for an appointment I must travel to the next City over- Las Vegas NV
    I’ve been lucky so far because I have qualified for phone interviews due to disabilty.
    The non profits need to realize that talking to a person in need with a recorded message is like a slap in the face and they need to put the human factor back into play by justpicking up the phone.

  • LOVE this!! Wishing you every possible success with your very own “reality show.”

  • Wendy says:

    Sometimes I feel like my own case worker-Talking to a person beats leaving a message with Welfare any day.

  • Tracie says:

    What you said about having a toll free number is SO true! In the past, I have been in the position where I couldn’t contact agencies for help because of the phone number issue.

  • D. says:

    Truly sad story.

  • Derenda Rowe says:

    Carey, As an outreach worker, I understand the frustation, but from a different side. Everyday I know that I will only be able to fully serve a family or two. I juggle money and try to make it stretch as far as I can. I know that there are people who think we do a good job and people who think we are no help at all.
    Our sucess numbers are pretty good, until you look at the volume of people who do not get help. We service most basic needs and offer as many resources as possible. Yesterday, I tried to help a man get a new Food Stamp card, I was on the phone for about 15 minutes when the recording said my wait time was 45 minutes and my cell phone was going dead. I tried to call local DFCS and was answered by a young summer worker that was rude and had no idea what I was asking about. I asked to speak to a worker that knows me and was put through to someone else and given a recording that told me to call the change center. This all took an hour and I accomplished nothing. I am grateful that the rest of my day was more productive.
    Thank you for what you are doing! Your family is beautiful! Those of us who are working for a change have to keep moving one step at a time. You and Mark are making a difference!

  • D. says:

    I can see how the process of seeking help could cause someone to give up, but don’t.

    Problems never last, but strong people do.

    On a side note, your hair looks fine. ;-)

  • Lee says:

    $ebastian what are we missing-Who are you mad at.

  • Melissa says:

    Unfortunately, accessing services directly is challenging to the point of almost being impossible. There’s high turnover and high caseloads and tons of other good reasons, as well as good old fashioned incompetence just like in any other field.

    I’ve been in Derenda’s shoes as an advocate calling on behalf of the people I work with. I’ve worked to develop relationships with competent people in various agencies and to identify the agencies that serve people well and respectfully. When I run into bad service, I try to give feedback or to avoid that person/agency in the future.

    Some differences between calling as an advocate vs calling as person seeking services is that I (sometimes) have direct numbers/direct relationships with people in the agency and can get a real live person on the phone. I also speak case manager-ese and know the potential places where applications may have fallen through the cracks, so can get that real live person to move things forward faster.

    A huge advantage of working with an experienced advocate is that we understand the referral processes, both formal and informal. Someone who’s been around a while will be able to explain how funding streams work, so that the customer doesn’t apply to a program that is–for all useful purposes–only open to people applying through a “feeder” program.

    There are a lot of resource referrals happening at the Urban Rest Stop–perfect, because you can browse referrals while you’re waiting for your laundry. URS is also the only place I know in town that provides showers to entire families. http://www.urbanreststop.org

    Some agencies with competent, experienced advocates include: Child Care Resources, PeoplePoint, FamilyWorks, and Solid Ground and Community Health Access Program. CHAP in particular is great at explaining the process and keeping in touch.

    Sometimes it’s necessary to approach the resource you’re looking for sideways–ie, access vocational programs for help with childcare and housing and/or accessing transportation vouchers through a food bank. It’s a matter of finding someone you like and trust at an agency providing a service you can use.

    A lot of words to say: resource lines aren’t as useful as they should be to the people trying to access resources.
    You’re doing an amazing job of showing this.

  • mabear2011 says:

    Ive heard North Dakota has aLOTTALOTTA Jobs-all sorts due to oil rich economy.

  • Pingback: Mark Horvath: WATCH: Homeless Mom Calls for Help | AllHotness.com

  • Daphne De Venaro says:

    Hello Carey, I am contacting you because I work with a work-training program for the homeless here in Seattle called the Seattle Conservation Corps. This is a sheltered-work program that offers one year of compensated work and support services which leads to permanent employment and housing stability. You seem like the type of motivated person that would do well in our program. If you are interested please contact me at daphne.devenaro@seattle.gov or at (206) 684-0190.

    Thanks,

    Daphne De Venaro

  • Hi Carey,
    I am sad every time I hear about another family who is told “I’m sorry, we can’t help you, we’re overcapacity.” Last year at Wellspring Family Services we helped more than 500 families with housing, yet we were unable to help almost 2,000 homeless families with 1,600 children! because our resources are stretched so thin.

    I do know there are hundreds and thousands of people working hard in our State to change this bleak reality for families and children. By telling your story and being heard – you are one of them! The tragedy is, it doesn’t change your situation or the living conditions of thousands of families in King County tonight, but hopefully one day soon it will.

    If you haven’t already tried, call Wellspring’s housing services. You will need a caseworker/shelter referral to get into the program. Call 206-902-4271 extension 2 or for more information go to the website: http://wellspringfs.org/get_help/homeless/supportive_housing.php

    Take care and keep blogging!
    Patricia Gray

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  • Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  • mikhal says:

    How can I get in contact with Stephanie Brandt I knew her late father Fr. John Brandt and her mother Giselle.Send her my E mail address if you know how.



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