FIRST OF ALL – ROAD FOR HOPE IS HOMEEEE! I could not be prouder for the participants this year or more grateful for their leadership team, community and CM for making it another successful year. Shout out of all my dear friends who added another 130 to their repertoire!
My first week of work has been unique to say the least. I began Tuesday, with which I mostly spent time talking with my supervisor about Operation Safety Net in general. In my down time, I got to know some of the residents of Trail Lanes Apartments. Trail Lanes will be my home base for the year. Trail Lanes is an aspect of OSN which provides permenant housing to those who need it most. Many of our residents have failed out of other shelter or recovery programs because of complexities such as medical noncompliance and dependence on substances. TLA is a “housing first” model which provides people a safe, secure place to . It is as simple as that. While living in TLA, residents have resources in case management (to help with income, job searches, social assistance, health care advocacy..you name it). In addition to the 16 units offered to people in need, the program does its best to house people wherever they can. Many of the single rooms or offices are filled with people living in temporary shelter. TLA is the most beautiful facility I have ever seen that serves people who are chronically homeless. It has a lovely feel to it, with well kept furniture, decorations and framed pictures of staff and residents all over the floor. OSN takes pride in this comfortable feel, providing dignity and respect to all those involved.
Almost every day I will be at a different facility during the week rotating from TLA, the OSN main office, the UPMC Mercy Family Health Center (clinic) and Wellspring Drop in Center. All are affiliated or directly a part of the OSN netowrk and are focused in health care and outreach. Some evenings I will spend doing walking rounds with Dr. Whithers the physician who started the OSN program. When in in the Clinic, I will be working with Dr. Whithers treating patients who may come in from street rounds or visiting residents upstairs in TLA. I have had the pleasure of meeting him on a couple occasions and he has already given me a book to read! I will also be helping Kelli, the nurse at the home base of OSN with SWES, which are Severe Weather Emergency Shelters held in churches to provide shelter, food, clothing and health care whenever there is inclement weather (either in form of storms or cold temperatures).