“I tear up when I talk about their rooms, watching them decorate, watching them grow…”
–Cheryl Sullivan of the LTLC Outreach Team talking about the residents of our new property where six chronically homeless individuals are living a stable, better quality life in their new home. All had been living under a bridge, most have had toes amputated due to frostbite, and one man had been alone so long that he did not believe, at first, that he was legally allowed to stay in the house.
LTLC has always gone above and beyond to bring clients into the shelter from the streets for housing and community supports. Our staff target those living on the streets to provide lifesaving services to address serious medical, mental health and/or substance abuse problems. This includes connecting clients to the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC), Lowell House, South Bay Mental Health, several VNA programs and Eliot Community Human Services. These collaborations have resulted in greater adherence with treatment programs that can directly impact the long term goal of housing stabilization. As the connection to the shelter for someone coming from the streets, LTLC outreach helps to ease the transition and remains a stabilizing force for a population in crisis.
What does an outreach worker do to solve homelessness and save lives?
- They can identify locations throughout the City where the most chronically homeless congregate.
- They establish a rapport that often leads to referral for much needed health care services and mutual understanding of desired outcomes.
- They liaison with other service providers to support the homeless individual.
- They provide intervention services and transportation to medical, detox, emergency, and crisis centers.
- Continued support: They maintain ongoing relationships and connect people to programs that lead to housing and independence.
Funding outreach services is the most critical need facing LTLC today.
LTLC has received funding for an in-house Health Navigator to accompany our outreach staff on visits to areas where chronic street homeless are living and be the bridge to the LTLC health clinic. This is one example of a new partnership that will be enabled by additional outreach funding.