Maltreatment of our homeless will be resolved, one way or another
November 11, 2011
LETTER FROM BECKY JORGESON TO COMMUNITY ACTION PARTNERS
I am disappointed every day of my life as I hear more stories of how, and more importantly why, homeless people are kicked out of the Prado Day Center.
For not doing being able to do a chore, one mentally challenged man can’t form a lucid sentence, so I see why it may be difficult for him to follow instruction. For calling another client a name. This told to me by a homeless man who I’m putting on the bus today to go back to Arkansas to be with his wife he hasn’t seen in six years, thanks to one of our own city councilman’s generosity.
The man was kicked out of Prado for life for calling another client a name. A tad harsh for this veteran who served for years in Iraq and saw more pain and heartache than I’d like to even think about — the homeless man with two purple hearts who has severe PTSD and can’t take meds due to their crippling side effects, for whom the V.A. will give no benefits because he can’t/won’t take those meds.
You have no idea how he’s suffered because of the inability of homeless services to handle people with mental disabilities. This man who we should be honoring for his service to us and our country, has been homeless on the streets for months with no money, no way to get a meal, other than standing by the fence at Prado at mid day to ask for a sack lunch like a child, in hopes that staff don’t call the police and have him arrested as they promise to do for trespassing. He has no way to shower, do laundry, make phone calls, or those other little niceties in life that the rest of us sometimes take for granted.
One man in our local government told me tonight that he’s gone round and round with management about how the homeless are treated and how they are kicked out of Prado way too often.
I realize there are rules, and natural and logical consequences. I know how difficult it is to deal with so many mentally ill people at the same time. I realize that there as to be some order or chaos will rule, but these people are being kicked out because no one can handle them. Some are people who grew up in foster care, or girls who have been raped by their fathers and had their baby. Some are bipolar, schizophrenic, personality disordered, and depressed; they are 290’s, 5150’s, felons, and teenaged moms; they have PTSD from the wars we send them to. They deserve better.
And this is but one story. And the real frightening question is if this size shelter can’t be run without kicking people out daily who need help, how will the homeless fare in a bigger shelter? I also see the ads in the Tribune all the time asking for food items, volunteers, etc.
I am greatly disappointed too, Biz Steinberg of Community Action Partners, I thought you’d be someone I could come to with this long term and never-ending problem. I went to Grace with four homeless people who painfully told their stories about being kicked out of Prado and the way those who come are treated — staff allow falling down drunk people in at night to MLM (so they won’t die in the bushes) instead of sober people who adhere to the rules.
But she was obviously so bored, or at least acted that way, in the meeting that I asked if any of this bothered her. She seemed less interested in listening, let alone doing anything about it, than Dee Torez but I will not give this up. There are other options, and I promise homeless people on the streets who have been kicked out of Prado every single night that things will change.
So please – don’t talk to me about being disappointed. I will not put these people through any more than they’ve already been through – especially groveling to be able to ‘panel back in.’
And if it takes a class action lawsuit to get things changed around here, as was done in Fresno, so be it.
I, for one, am sick to death of the whole thing.