The concept of housing first and safe haven models for housing chronically street homeless has obvious impact clients in ways much broader than simply giving them a safe place to sleep. Clients enter our program especially vulnerable. When people are actively using substances or debilitated by mental illness, the chaos of their own mind is overwhelming. It becomes the center of their being. That inability to focus on even the most basic tasks of hygiene, personal safety and health is what makes our clients deeply vulnerable. Trail Lane gives people a beautiful and safe place to stay, but the social and residential support allows people to break their prior conditions on the street if they so desire.
Working with the staff I do gives me the opportunity to hear incredible stories of all the different people and stories that they encounter in this population through their various past and present positions. One gentleman entered a housing first model residence, his hair mangled with lice and grime, body infected with common infections in the population and actively powerful delusions and hallucinations. Living in a housing first model gave him the structural support he needed to take care of himself and his health. He is now thriving in his treatment, compliant with his medications and working towards physical fitness. He is a gentle soul who is genuinely interested in understanding his experiences from his illness. He is full of faith and open with his desires to seek a safe and happy life.
We see clients every day who are transforming. Not everyone too able to get clean or become open to medical intervention, but any transformation, any feelings of acceptance matter.