I’m not sure how anyone who needs help gets it!  I spent a couple hours calling around today, trying to find a place for Tricia and Ben – I’m picking them up tomorrow at their old campsite at 9 AM and need somewhere to take them. The woman at Catholic Charities who answered the phone and listened to my sad story gave me the names and numbers of a couple shelters and then started in on campgrounds and motels.  That’s when I realized she was just reading from the phone book.  I asked what sort of services they offered in their charity work – apparently just  food and clothes.  So I called one of the organizations she had listed-  Project Understanding – here’s their mission statement: “Project Understanding is a faith-based agency founded and established on the principles and ideals of Judaism and Christianity whose mission is two-fold: To do justice by serving the poor, hungry and oppressed with compassion and mercy, and to provide avenues for those who wish to serve others.”  The person who answered their phone said the best he could do was to give me the names and numbers of  several other agencies.  I guess they serve the poor, hungry and oppressed by passing them along to someone else!   Then I called Salvation Army- they supposedly have a transition living facility.  The man who answered the phone said, yes, they do but not for couples, just for single men.   The rescue mission is for single men only. Freedom House Sober Living is for men only and probably wouldn’t suit someone accustomed to having beer with breakfast.  The Lighthouse Project is for women with children.  The only place I could find that takes couples only takes couples with children and no one allows pets. There is a winter warming shelter at the armory, doors open at 6 pm for dinner and a bed for the night.  Back on the streets in the morning. A possible short term (hah- there’s that idea again) solution but requires a cleared TB test no older than September 2009 and giving up Goldie. I even tried calling 211 – supposedly a resource hotline.  The line rang and a recording said “the code you have entered is invalid,” repeated the message in Spanish and hung up on me.  Deja vu- that took me back to my interactions with the unemployment office!  And this is why I’ve found it to be much more effective to rely on myself rather than seek help from agencies!  I am beginning to understand why the homeless are still sleeping in parks and abandoned buildings.

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