Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Omnihomeful Chronicles III - Help and Hope Are All Around

This week I discovered the most awesome resource for homeless people in Sacramento County.  It is called The Guest House, sponsored by El Hogar Community Services.  It's in "the circle" at 1400 A Street next door to the VOA shelter, a few blocks away from the Loaves and Fishes street of clinics and resources.

It's not fun to get the initial appointment, but it is so worth the very early morning shivering wait.  Right now, people are starting to line up around 5:00 am, and only the first two to four people will get an appointment.  I made the mistake of thinking 6:30am would be early enough for the 8:00am opening time.  Wrong!  I was lucky enough to get a stand-by appointment and met with a wonderful in-take advisor yesterday.  I was completely wowed by the thoroughness of the assessment questionnaires for mental health services, SSI help, housing assistance, and the compassion and enthusiasm of the staff.

I continue to be amazed by the interesting stories I hear from all the homeless people I meet at the various agencies, clinics, and other resource places.  Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeanine while waiting for The Guest House to open.  She lives in a tent nearby, but you would never know it if you saw her walking down any other street.  She is clean, well-groomed right down to her neon green nail polish, dressed in normal cool weather clothing that is like new.  Jeanine takes it upon herself to spread good cheer and helpful reminders to keep the attitudes good.  She kept all the "waitees" laughing and amen-ing like we were at a fun church.  Seriously, I think she needs her own talk show, "The Jeanine Chronicles".

My big question for Jeanine was, "How do you stay so clean and where do you go to the bathroom?"  She goes to Mary's House for a weekly grooming package that includes soap, shampoo, deoderant, a comb or brush, one or two new pairs of socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.  There is no washing machine there, but they let her wash her clothes in a big sink.  There are a few places around where she can shower or she can get a quick sink clean-up in any bathroom close by.  Cleanliness is next to godliness for Jeanine.  Jeanine's advice is: for goodness sakes, people, always have a clean pair of socks and keep your feet and other smelly bits super clean!  There's no excuse for not taking basic care of yourself.  She doesn't want to smell you walking down the street!

That's it for now.  I've been taking photos with my cell phone of upholstery of the chairs in various waiting rooms around town.  I will be posting them as soon as I figure out how to get them from my phone to this blog.

Big hugs to all my followers.  Keep smiling!

1 comment:

starbear said...

Dear Kathleen!
I love your attitude of gratitude. Solutions are everywhere. I love your optimism. Please send me your phone number or call me or e-mail me. I would like to offer you a half hour of Reiki healing - free. I am a certified Reiki Master and really good at long distance work with people. Maybe I can help ease some of your pain? XOXO