Sunday, August 27, 2006

Prayer Requests

The count's tomorrow.

For those who're not yet familiarized with this project, here's a brief overview:

The last statewide homeless count in Colorado was done in 1988. Since then, the state's entire population has increased roughly 32%. However, metro Denver alone counted 9,091 homeless persons this January - a 300% increase over the ENTIRE state's homeless population in '88.

Something's seriously and disproportionately wrong in the state of Colorado....but just how wrong nobody knows. Which is why we're attempting another statewide count. It's a survey....blech, I know. But...with the press we've run and incentives for filling it out - maybe we'll get a good response. Prayer request #1 - cooperative respondents.

In addition to the sheer numbers, we will get important inputs re: the whys and hows of homelessness in our state.

August is leaving rather quickly - trading in rainy afternoons and cool nights for the blasted heat we've had all summer long. This is fine - except, I'll have 50 people scouring the landsides of the county looking for homeless folks and it could decide to dump buckets of moisture from the skies. Prayer request #2 - dry weather that's neither too cool nor too hot.

We could see some folks, and then, we could not - due to my decision to stick more to safety. Prayer request #3 - visibility of homeless persons.

LMNOB had a tough week last week, with very tearful drop-offs for school in the mornings. Ms. Kindergarten Teacher was wonderfully swift in her redirections for LMNOB, but it still made me feel like number 1 loser Mommy. I know she's in the midst of a big transition with school, and then I've not been readily available to her. And, Charlie Brown and I have been arguing...a lot, lately. Poor thing probably thinks the floor is going to drop out on her at any turn. Prayer request #4 - an easy drop off in the morning, prayer request #5 - that LMNOb be unscathed my my absence tomorrow night, and prayer request #6 - that Big'n'Tall Bro be on top of his babysitting game tomorrow night, get them into bed early and all that jazz.

I'm so ready to be done. I love to have had this experience, but I'm about done in now..... below is an excerpt of an e-mail I sent Thursday to my former place of employment:

I have a large job ahead of me, and have found that it helps if we all work together instead of looking out for our [own agency's] best interests. A lot of agencies have expressed concern about staff time to do this count. And I understand that as a pressing issue in the here and now. However, I also understand that if we do not get accurate information and representation on this count, competitive funding such as SuperNOFA ($16 million to CO this year – and we barely secured that, being 2 points from $0 ) will be lost. Area mental health providers have permanent housing from this funding source, and were we to lose it, you have a number of mentally ill folks w/o housing and the potential for [decompensation, and thus]lots of dollars down the tube at CMHI (state mental hospitals). So, it's invest small now, or lose big later.

We all have to look at the big picture. When we all help, we all benefit.

I wonder how it will have served me, having been so frank with my former supervisor, but you know, we can't as service providers and local governments pretend that all is well on the western front - avoiding the elephant in the room at all costs - literally.

Someone's got to say it.

And I'm not afraid to be that someone....


  1. MommyHam-

    Praying for you and all the others today. Thanks for being willing to stand up for justice!

  2. Chris-

    I got all but #3 answered from above with a resounding YES. We were a little light on traffic tonight, but I've yet to hear how the other teams did.

    The one survey my team did get answered reminded me how much I miss outreach....if only it paid the bills. I've got to figure that one out.