A Day With a Rural Homeless Outreach Team

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Last year’s vlog: Ryan is King of the Town – a Look at Traverse City’s Faith Community Ending Homelessness. 

This vlog is long but since I was cutting it down and dirty without being produced I felt keeping the authenticity was very important and to do that I figured it best to leave most of the day as is. Plus, a lot of the conversation gives insight into the challenges that both homeless people and outreach workers face. I also talk about privacy issues when videotaping homelessness and the protocols we have in place to make sure no homeless person ever gets hurt by our work.

This is real homeless outreach in a rural community. Nothing was staged. I captured the day as it unfolded the best I could.

The night before was the last night of the winter shelter in Traverse City. Both homeless men and homeless women that were staying at the emergency homeless shelter now had to sleep outside.

We started the day taking sleeping bags and tarps to a small tent community. While walking down the path, we came across a homeless man just sleeping on the ground under tarps.

We then connected to two homeless couples living in tents.

Next, we transported a young homeless woman to a housing appointment. The good news she is moving forward in the housing process. The bad news is that it’s now a waiting game.

After that, we visited the winter shelter. If you watch last year’s vlog, the shelter was still under construction. A highlight for me was seeing cell phone lockers for the first time.

The reason we stopped by the shelter was to pick up the belongings of a homeless man that was in the hospital. We then transported the homeless man to a shelter.

What Ryan says near the end of this vlog at 45:08 or https://youtu.be/TIINeEJOjlA is profound. We could look at her getting on a housing list two years ago as a success because we didn’t even have a housing list two years ago, but the reality is while this woman waits for housing she desperately needs, her chances of going into housing get worse. We cannot pat ourselves on the back claiming success unless we look at the whole picture. This woman is dying and she may not make it another year. She is vulnerable.

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