This week alone we have 8 people leaving the shelter!
All of them are taking steps to further their lives. Some are going off to rehab others are moving into their own place with jobs.
When we agreed to take over the operation of the shelter the immediate goal was simple. Keep people alive. We are doing that. We are providing a safe, warm place to sleep. The center is a day shelter offering showers, laundry, and meals. We have had as many as 35-40 people come through the center during a day and average 20-25 people at the tents for the evening. We have people in their teens up to a gentleman who proudly told me he is the oldest staying at the shelter, at 68.
But we knew from the beginning that this was not enough. We knew that the people needed more. They need hope. Hope for a future. Our partner Abram works with people to see hope and see what steps they need to do to reach their goals. Now not everyone is ready to take that step. Some need more time. But many simply need some help and encouragement.
Services are important. We need to provide some basic services. Simple things such as helping them get their ID’s. Or providing a phone number that they can give to agencies that can help. Helping them stay healthy by offering basic hygiene -Showers, Laundry. Providing access to the internet. Or helping them apply for help, filling out a job or apartment application.
Sometimes it is something as simple as a ride to the hospital. Or taking the time to listen to them. Offering a cup of coffee. Treating them with dignity.
Homelessness on the reservation has many forms. Not all of them are visible. I will write more on the topic in further posts. But, for now I want to enjoy that we are making a difference. And 8 people have taken advantage of the opportunity.