Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Days

When I was first considering this blog entry, I was planning to describe a day that had gone quite well.

I had arrived at the JOIN office early and was happy to see that the box truck which I had signed out was there and ready to roll. I had an easy drive to a SE apartment complex where I met with a man that I met doing outreach and the manager of the complex.

He was receiving his keys to his new apartment and spirits were high. We had been searching for a place that would approve his application in spite of his two felony drug convictions one and two years before. Although I am confident that he will be a great tenant, finding a landlord who was willing to offer him a chance was not easy.

After touring his new place and exchanging happy words, I was back on the road and headed for the Community Warehouse.

JOIN helps folks find housing. The Community Warehouse helps folks create homes. The staff there are amazing and patient and helpful.

The man that I was meeting was waiting for me and we quickly went to work finding a fold out couch and two chairs and a table that would fill his small studio apartment. His experience finding a place was also challenging. He has an eviction within the last year along with significant time sleeping outdoors.

We unloaded the furniture into his apartment and I sat down to take in the warmth. We had worked hard and together to find a good place.

The rest of my day was spent stopping by the apartment of a guy that JOIN had helped move in to an apartment about a year ago, and visiting a man that I recently helped to move into the Clark Center Men's shelter, and a few campers out in the eastern part of my Southeast outreach area.

I remember driving home feeling that things had unfolded nicely.

And then the weather threatend.

Before the first of the frost hit, JOIN had issued a press release asking for donations of blankets and our office filled up quickly. Every outreach worker and several other staff loaded vehicles and hit the streets with blankets, coats, socks, hats, scarves and gloves. The once over-filled office emptied within a couple of days as we worked day and night checking in on folks.

Now the weather seems so familiar and the snow quite beautiful.

Donations are continuing to pour in and we are continuing to get them out to folks who are choosing to stay outside instead of seeking shelter in one of the warming centers.

I am so very impressed by the way that our community is looking at this extreme weather as an opportunity to look out for one another. I wish I could pass along the thanks I hear from people to those in the community who are donating clothes, money and time to help out folks who need it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Warming Center Opens in JOIN's New Building

Left: Marc Jolin and Nick Fish at the Warming Center Press Conference

Right: The new warming center