aarrggh – what it’s really like to be a Social Worker

Don’t pick this job.  Do something easy, like rocket science. You know, where there are absolutes and the figures always add up. Do something where if you mess it up, only seven people die at a time.

Being homeless is hell. People die of starvation and exposure every day.  It is a big gaping pit that tries to suck you and everyone around you into it’s miseery like a black hole in space. Nothing is linear, nothing makes sence and everything is just crazy.  Desperation, fear, begging your friends and family for small kindnesses, losing self esteem, and suffering incredible violence.  Homelessness includes all of these things.

Today my job was working with women who discovered:

Homelessness means you call perfect strangers that other strangers say can help you.  Being homeless and in a shelter means I will talk to you as I drive my daughter to school so that you can hear a friendly voice before you walk into the DPSS and throw yourself on the mercy of “the system”.

Being without a permanent and secure place of your own means that you sometimes have to choose a roof  and walls for your children –  that you pay for by being a punching bag if your shelter provider is violent. Where are you going to go? A good parent does what is best for their children, right? It means that you come into my office still bleeding from the beating your father gave you for applying for housing and food. It means that you go through a box of Kleenex and tell me every ugly event from the past month while I call to find you Domestic Violence help, emergency shelter and  my coworkers start calling every inpatient mental health/domestic violence/ substance abuse provider we have even heard a rumor about.  And then I tell the abuser waiting in the lobby that he can’t know where you and your baby have gone.

Being homeless means you have to abort your baby because you can’t afford to feed the child you already have. You are afraid that if you  find employment : you will lose the job if you take maternity leave in the first year.

Being homeless means that you have tried everything you can do on your own and now you are reaching out for help.

This is what being The Help does to me. I made this video on Saturday.

Today this woman came in and I reached out and found a miracle.  In your prayers tonight, thank God for PATH Achieve.

By the time I came home tonight I thought I was having an aneurysm. I had a migraine so bad that I could barely see and so many knots in me that I walked like Quasi Moto.  I walked in , dropped into my chair and pulled my child onto my lap and held on tight.

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