CAC’s Christmas Miracle

"There is no question that sadly we cannot help them all, but if we are only able do it one at a time and everyone and every organization does their one or more, amazing progress can be made." -Phil Lemley

MircalesHappenGood Afternoon CAC Board of Directors

At the last board meeting I spoke about a young homeless lady who visits are parking lot more frequently than anyone else.  She has been coming to the admin office to use the restroom and go through the ash tray.  This has been going on for well over a year and a half. 

Staff has asked her to come up stairs for possible services, administration staff has asked, as well as me.  When I first talked with her, she said, she had a place to live.  I ask where she lived and she said “In the van on 4th and Court Street, behind the radiator shop.”  “I am their WATCH DOG and they let me stay for free.” I told her you are a human being and not someone’s watch dog. 

I told you as the board that my goal was to try and get her housed before the New Year.  I thought about it all week-end and said maybe I can get her to at least use the services of the Second Chance Center, take a shower, wash clothes, and get in out of the cold.  I would make an exception for her.

On Tuesday, December 13th I ask Sonia to watch for her and let me know when she comes in.  Around 9:30 am she arrived, both Beckie from Second Chance and Melissa from Housing were asked to come down.  I met ‘Mel’ in the lobby and asked to talk with her.  She sat down with me and we talked about the cold and I asked her to let us help her.  She said I am alright.  I told her of the housing services i.e. Lincoln House and Second Chance.  She has no job so does not want to go into something and get kicked out for lack of funding and lose the only ‘home’ van she has had over the years.

We talked to her like a ’Dutch Uncle’ and she kept tossing out road blocks.  I told that I did not feel that I was doing my job as long as she was being used and homeless.  She said don’t cry, I’ll be okay, I told her that I was not crying, but very sad. She asked why and I said that we were not helping her and that what CAC is all about.  I asked again if she would just go upstairs with Melissa and get signed up for the Lincoln House, as we had a room available and she would be in a warm bed tonight.

SHE SAID YES! if that would make me happy again. I said YES.  She agreed to come back at 1:30 pm to meet with CAC staff (Melissa and Eric).

She came back at 1:30 with all her belongings; it took most of the afternoon to complete her paperwork as staff did her eligibility; Eric is helping her get her ID.   Dalia got her a coat and some warm tops, hat and gloves, Eric got her personal hygiene supplies, bus tickets and I got the okay from Carol Dow, co-owner of the Lincoln House to call Sandra Vaca, house manager to bring her over.  They (staff and ‘Mel’) left at 4:25 pm to the Lincoln House after picking up the rest of her things.  They also had taken her dirty clothes down stairs to our Second Chance Center and staff washed and folded them the next day. 

When I left the building at 5:15 pm, it was cold and really snowing, we were expecting the weather to drop into the single digits.  I stepped out into the snow and said ‘if she stays the night it will really be our CAC Christmas Miracle’.   I texted the message to Melissa and when she got home she said “We came down the stairwell to my van and out into the snow and ‘Mel’ said this is my Christmas Miracle.”   Sandra from the Lincoln House is showing her the ropes, how to ride the Transit, Eric is helping her with her ID and paperwork and connecting her with Lourdes Counseling to get her some help.  Right now Melissa and her are out shopping for shoes (without the bottoms out), boots, socks and underclothes as well as and some warm clothing and food.