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Cover up!

It is absolutely miserable to have to wear a mask 8 hours a day if the mask is ugly. But if the mask is an expression of who you are and can be turned into a fashion statement or a bit of whimsy, and especially if the purchase of the mask helps to cause you believe in- would you buy it and wear it?

For $25 plus shipping you receive 4 masks. The profit supports our work educating and pushing the discussion about ending homelessness.

These masks are easy to breathe through, stretchy and washable. We’ve already given a bunch of way to our homeless neighbors and friends, as well as essential services providers working with the homeless. They’re not medical grade but they will help you control what you’re pushing out and meet the various mandates about wearing masks in California.

to be completely transparent with you, I have to wear a mask 8 hours a day and so I own about 50 different styles and I have sewn more masks than I can count. AI ordered these on a whim and was so pleased with them that I kept ordering more until I discovered I we could dropship and use it to support ending homelessness in Los Angeles.

LAFH … Pick up the phone

Dear LA Family Housing,

I called and emailed you because it was a time sensitive issue that happened this afternoon.

An answer was required today and so the opportunity has now expired

… If your purpose is to house people then sometimes you’ve got to step out of a meeting and make a 5-minute phone call. I know it makes you sound important to say you have back-to-back meetings and whatever it is we’ll just have to wait, but maybe have one of your minions call or follow up. You’re a whole agency full of people and frankly I am disheartened disgusted and have lost faith in you.

#fail

Foodstamps for internet shopping

EBT Online

As of April 28, 2020 you can use your EBT card to make purchases online.

Individuals and families can purchase groceries online using their EBT card at Amazon and Walmart. If you receive CalWORKs, you may also be able to use your cash benefits to make purchases online at Wal-Mart.

California expedited implementation of EBT online purchasing in response to COVID-19. Allowing for EBT online purchases will support vulnerable populations in meeting their nutrition needs, especially while a statewide stay at home order remains in place. California is actively working to expand the number of stores that accept EBT online in the future.

CalFresh provides monthly food benefits that help individuals and families buy healthy, nutritious food! Even if temporary, individuals and families who have experienced a change in their circumstances and need additional help may apply for CalFresh. Californian’s can visit GetCalFresh.org to apply or call 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD) to be connected to their local county social service office.

Why Choose a Freeway Underpass

Homelessness is many things – but to you and I – it is a visual blight.

Tents and boxes and grocery carts and clothes and trash cover the sidewalks lining the street under the freeway overpass. It is loud and car sounds echo – gas fumes linger and can’t escape which creates terrible air quality – so why do people choose to live there?

Simple.

  • No competition for that land
  • I can see who is coming up to me
  • one side of me is secure and closed off so I only need to worry about 3 sides and not 4
  • Close to grocery stores
  • freeways are close to gas stations, gas stations have sinks and public toilets
  • shade in the sunny So Cal days
  • protection from the rain and winds

I don’t think anyone WANTS to be homeless, but if you are homeless outside you will be looking for a spot as sheltered as possible.

Why you can believe me

When I speak about poverty and homelessness please know:

  1. I worked 4 years in Skid Row
  2. 10 years in Welfare to Work aka Gain with moms and dads who were homeless, low income, teenage parents and I specialized in people who needed mental health and substance use or domestic violence treatment
  3. 3 years in the food stamp and MediCal application program or DPSS
  4. 2 more years running homeless shelters find adults in behavioral health services
  5. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social work
    ——–. So you might say I’m an expert on the subject —-

I am a practicing Methodist and I believe that Loving your neighbor means starting with those who need love the most and have the least

I have seen evidence that if you want to improve the life of a child, you have to start by helping the parent.

I did not baby my clients and I will not pander to your ignorance. I will talk to you like you are my equal and correct you when you are wrong.

Keep this in mind when you start posting things about poverty, drug addiction, homelessness, mental health, and welfare.

If you have questions, ask me before you post random opinions. If you won’t believe me, I’m happy to connect you with another expert; maybe one who looks a little bit more like you so you will believe them. If you need a man, or person of color, or a rich person to give you the facts so that you’ve been identify with the giver and believe the facts – I’m happy to do that for you.

Sometimes a social worker is the right person for the police’s job

Today, June 17th, I took a sick day. That lasted until about 5:00 when I was informed that a homeless person I knew had barricaded themselves in a public bathroom inside a building that was closing.

Shortly after I was called the first time somebody dialed 911 and asked for the police.

I was called an hour later and made the 14-mile drive to the location in question. I arrived before the LAPD officers did.

It wasn’t the police officers who got him to open the door. In fact they said there was nothing they could do about the fact that he was barricaded, nude, and refusing to talk. We did not know if he was armed or if he had drugs with him or if he intended to hurt himself. We couldn’t see him.

I talked him into opening the door. 45 seconds after I got to the door and began talking to him, he unlocked and opened it. This wasn’t magic or luck. This is what a social worker can do better than what a police officer can do.

The police officers asked if he was going to kill himself or hurt himself or anyone else. He said he did not have any of those plans. The police officers then left the building.  They left the building. They left him in the bathroom, nude, belligerent, and feeling sick. He was refusing to leave the bathroom when the police officers left the building.

This man was trespassing and could have become a danger to himself or others in his erratic state. The police did not know what to do. They told me how many mentally ill people and homeless people they see a day and that it’s just a lot and they’re tired.

I got to the door at the restroom and talked wirh this gentleman. I reminded him of who I was because we spent some time together yesterday and the day before. He opened the door and was surprised to see my face. I got him to open the door and I was able to have somebody stand in the doorway and prop it open.

If you’ve spent any time with me at all you know I’m not a particularly nice or gentle person. I’m firm and and not wavering. My tone was not a whole lot gentler then the police but my approach was different. My approach was centered on this person and what he was experiencing. I asked him questions and I looked for solutions and I offered him help.

He was completely nude and all of his clothes were in the sink. He was so nervous that he was having diarrhea and couldn’t leave the toilet. I found him two alternative sets of clothing. Was comforting to him, normalized his situation, and managed to walk him out the building and out to the front yard.

The police were not helpful and they did not feel like they had a lot of options. They were not trained to deal with the population that they see all the time. When the discussion of defending the police comes up, what they really mean is that they should equip the police officers with teammates like me who provide a different set of options.

The police had uniforms and guns and tasers.

I was legitimately in my pajamas and flip-flops because I went flying out of my house to my car when I got the second phone call. It didn’t require a lot of apparatus It just required the right approach.

I don’t think the police have time to learn how to work with the specific population. The different set of skills and working with normal people, and maybe that’s why I’m so weird with normal people because I’m really good with chronically mentally ill homeless drug addicts. Like, that’s my niche.

I want the police department to feel more comfortable in these situations and I think that by adding social workers to their teams, they will be. I’m not talking about the case managers at children’s Services who remove kids and I’m not talking about the caseworkers in the county welfare department. I’m talking about clinically trained mental health professionals like myself who are social workers by training and choice.

Think about it. If you were freaking out and losing your mind in public, who would you rather see? Do you want to see the police oh would you rather see me?

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