Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yesterday I Was At A Homeless Shelter

I volunteered to do the Point-In-Time count of the homeless population. Every year the shelters are required to count the homeless in shelters and on the street and I volunteered to do the count at shelters.

I did it because I wanted to see what a shelter looks like and because I wanted to help. I get the calls for phone line CTAC (CT TransAdvocacy Coalition) and we get requests for “trans friendly” homeless shelters. I did it with a friend who is also trans and it looked that most people who volunteered to help had a friend along.

We first had training on filling out the forms (here is an electronic version of the form) and then were assigned a shelter while some volunteered to count homeless people who do not go to shelters.

I interviewed about six or eight people and out of the eight most were there because of hardship and not drug addicts or alcoholics. For whatever reason they were down on their luck and they were clean, very friendly and respective.

I found the shelter clean but very worn and in need of basic repairs like paint or the furniture was typical institutional furniture (heavy and basically a big cube with cushions. I did staff training at a mental hospital and it was the same type of furniture).

I think to sum it up in one word the word “basic” keeps coming to mind. It is not a place where you want to be, but it is basic communal living.

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