Thursday, January 3, 2008

In which I must heed my own ramblings...

I'm upset.

I have lots to say about a particular matter - but my heart is weary. Could this be compassion fatigue?

I've already said QUITE a lot on this matter. And that's only what I've blogged. Let us not forget the many conversations, e-mails, and presentations I have made trying to get people to see the BIG picture, as opposed to their own favorite perspective, that which is but a lone pixel in the whole of the image.

According to shelter director Overnight Guy1, however, shelter organizers do not have a plan if the City Council denies the continuation of their lease.
And that just makes me mad, because when something is conditional, temporary, and/or going to be reevaluated in 6 weeks, perhaps you ought to figure out a Plan B just in case.

But, that's just the thing - this man has not done ANY of the leg work, instead guess who has had to hold everyone's hand at the 11th hour, and put aside the other important tasks on my list? Yeah, and while I believe in the cause, I resent the manner in which it has been put together.

Daytime Dude said he’d actually like to see a more-open policy at night; the current city policy requires all people to pass a breathalyzer test.

It's a BEST PRACTICE!!! It's not fool proof, it's not a guarantee, but it is implemented by every shelter in the state. Why sacrifice the potential safety of many for the convenience of one?

“Are we trying to get people in out of the cold, or are we trying to help their habits?” Daytime Dude said. “Let’s judge it based on their behavior instead of what they blow on a breathalyzer.”

Again, I will remind Daytime Dude that one of the shelter guests has demonstrated past behavior that is very disturbing (twice over it has since been made known, and the last a mere six months ago), while under the influence of alcohol. It would seem that we ought to indeed try to help this man's habits as a matter of public safety. Don't get me wrong, I know this homeless man, love him and everything, but in the end, I'm not going to risk the welfare of others because he has a weakness to alcohol.

And, I have reason to believe that is what the shelter operators have done, seeing as how a whole bag of mouthpieces just happened to disappear last month. End result: Until a new shipment came in, they didn't have to breathalyze anyone for two days.

As they all look toward the future, everyone seems to agree the problem being solved should be the roots, not the effects, of homelessness.

As this paragraph immediately follows the breathalyzer commentary, it is assumed that substance abuse is to be taken as the effect of homelessness, rather than as a root. Which I find astonishing, because it seems to me that is one of the greatest chicken and the egg dilemmas in the field of social work, and by golly they seem to have found the answer, in order to speak with such certainty.

I'm venting here.

It is a multifaceted issue, and this post is just airing my emotions about one angle. I'm aware of that. I'm also aware that my personal and professional actions do differ, but the end result is the same - I care. I want to end homelessness, not just manage it.

But, as I close this post and consider my actions, I have to keep telling myself:

Peace takes courage because it means sometimes letting go of me being right and having faith that all things will be made right, eventually.

Peace takes courage because it means releasing the hold on my own understanding and having to ask for help from the One who told us to seek His Ways.

Please pray for me to be courageous, ya'll, and speak Truth in Love only when prompted by the Spirit - not my own understanding.


  1. I will be praying! God give her wisdom to know when to speak and when to listen!

  2. Hammy, I'm sorry you had a rough day. I really really am.