Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Learning to accept defeat

So over the past couple of weeks I've been spending a lot of time over at a great drop in day shelter by Harvard. Great food, good people, has almost an old school barber shop feel to it at times, so I feel comfortable there hanging out talking smack :)

I met a guy there last yesterday who had been homeless for 10 days, and was all proud of myself yesterday that I was able to get him into the shelter I'm at, and he seemed genuinely excited.
He arrived on time, went through the intake, passed his urine test so he was obviously clean as he stated, and seemed very happy to be there.
Throughout the night I check on him, made sure he was all set with everything he needed, and he was. He was showered, did laundry, and was feeling great.
Today however I seen him at the soup kitchen by Harvard, and he thanked me, but said he would not be returning. When I asked why, he simply said he couldn't deal with the crowd. To the point where he would rather be on the street.
You have to understand the shelter I'm at is known as one of the best. It's CLEAN, I take 2 to 3 showers a day, use of laundry, we eat well.... as far as shelters it's everything you need and then some. Yet he would rather be on the street and be around people.
I begged him to see a psychiatrist asap regarding this phobia, but it's out of my hands.

The new element in my life of helping people is still new to me, and a learning process, but it still hurts when you simply can't help someone, and you're so close.
Guess I'm still learning as I go.


  1. So many of us on the "streets" suffer from mental illness,ranging from phobias,anxiety,depression all the way to full blown psychotic disorders. America needs to get off this whole "if U don't have a job then suffer" bull. We need housing and health Care for all! We also need a country that produces jobs other than "Slave wage" jobs that don't give health benfts!
    Streetworker213 (P.J.)

  2. People with psychiatric disabilities do not tolerate these two conditions well: (1) too fast a pace and (2) too many people.

    Both conditions are common in shelters. Disabled people often leave on their own or get evicted due to limited ability to function under such conditions.

    Problem is not the man you tried to help; problem is the shelter system, especially since so many homeless people have significant psychiatric disabilities.