Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, July 20, 2018
It was a relatively quiet evening on the street, there is never any way to really know if we’ll be busy or not. Out on the street were Barb, Marge, Sandy, Suzanne, Susie, Sandy, Brian, Sam, Pastor Mike, Chuck and myself. While we hope the people we are not seeing all have obtained housing, we know that that is not the case. In fact, we are seeing more and more new people so it’s more likely that this population is growing and the need for affordable and reasonable housing is even in greater need.
Marge and I met with a woman and her significant other this week, the woman is pregnant and seems to managing as well as she can. I was prepared to provide information about clinics and hospitals, doctors and other resources she may need and was pleasantly surprised that she had already connected with and participated in some prenatal care. We talked about other needs, housing being the most important the further her pregnancy develops. She is due to deliver early 2019, we will support her needs as much as possible and we hope and pray that somehow they will obtain housing long before the baby arrives.
Another woman stopped by, she has been out on the street since November 2017 and seemed unsure whether she had any plans or not for housing. I strongly believe there is some form of mental illness that she lives with but because she focuses so much on her past, its hard to get a good assessment of her. She’s private about her current status but loves to talk about her earlier years in a small farming community in central Wisconsin.
Our Beacon House friends stopped by, the children are very special as their never-ending energy and smiles are infectious. They are a ray of sunshine to all of us as well as to their parents! We're including a picture of a little guy who enjoys the treats that are available at each visit.
We’re also adding another picture from our artist friend, please take time to look at the detail and enjoy! Any comments will be shared with him. (Pictures used with permission)
Feel free to contact us with questions or comments! Please "Like" and "Share" our Facebook page and journals!
- Karen - Social worker, Street nurse
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal 07-6-2018 to 7-17-2018
Its been a busy week for the street ministry, we've seen many new individuals living out on the street as well as some old friends.
As we've mentioned many times, mental illness is a very common and there seems to be an ever-present reminder of how non-regulated mental illnesses alter people's lives. Michelle and I spent a good deal of time listening to a man that has very obviously uncontrolled symptoms of some form of mental illness. We were often left without words or questions as we couldn't make any sense of what he was saying. We stood by and listened to him and offered him water, food and other items that he looked like he might need. He accepted a backpack and transferred all of his belongings from his ripped duffel bag to the new backpack. He stated he was unable to stay at the shelter and his reasoning was beyond suspect, but after packing his backpack, he got on his bicycle and rode off.
We've met some beautiful children who are awaiting housing. Barb has been able to obtain clothing, shoes, for them to help keep them comfortable while they wait. Its important to us to help fill the needs of children to make this part of their life's journey as pleasant as possible. Along with clothing, we have children's books available for them to pick out and take with them. (Pictures used with permission)
Pastor Mike, Barb and I spoke with an elderly woman who shared that she has $5 left until August 3rd. Because of her age, her challenged mobility and other issues, she tries hard to stay in low-cost motels as much as possible. This last month, she had needed to replace the cart she uses as the old one had worn out and the wheels were damaged. With all of the festivals in the area, motels are raising their rates so she had spent more than she usually would. She was very frustrated that she was facing the next two weeks either at the shelter or having to sleep outside. She mentioned in her conversation that she has a housing voucher but we were unable to find out exactly what that referred to. It is a terrible feeling to send someone so vulnerable away without having a suggestion or solution. We hope that this woman, and all of those we serve, are safe in each of their situations.
Another friend that we've known for years came to visit. Over a year ago, he had worked, purchased a vehicle and was bursting with pride with his successes. He recently lost the job and recently his vehicle became repairable and his affect is that of pain and sadness. He, too, has challenged mobility as well as health problems. He puts on a good smile but his eyes tell a different story. We are quite concerned about his general well-being. He does have housing but the loss of independence will be difficult for him.
Please keep these individuals, families and the volunteers of the street ministry in your thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for your support. We love to hear from you, please add questions and comments!
-Karen - Social Worker, Street Nurse
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, July 4, 2018
It seems an obvious statement or theory that individuals living in permanent shelter will be healthier, happier and more productive when they have stable, permanent housing. While hearing or thinking about this is one thing, actually seeing it is another.
Perhaps you'll remember our plea for assistance last summer when we encountered a family that was facing the possibility of living in their vehicle after exceeding their time at a local shelter. With your help, we were able to get a motel for them for a period of time and we assisted with applying for housing. They obtained housing and now periodically stop by to visit and share their successes with us. The children look amazingly healthy and are happy, their medical needs have been met and the family has a steady income. The father came with news that he was very proud of: their income had risen enough that they would be required to pay more for their rent. He wasn't discouraged but rather happy that things were going so well.
At their last visit, we took some pictures and want to share one with you. The first pictures is before housing was obtained, the second was just after housing was secured and the third picture is after being in housing for several months. Please note the differences, seeing is believing the importance of stability!
The family is acutely aware that the care they received was due to donations from you, our support team. While they are living independently, they continue to share gratitude each time they visit. Thank you for the assistance in helping this family and thank you to the family for generously giving permission to use these photos.
-Karen - Social Worker, Street Nurse