What makes the sun come out for you these days? For shelter guests – a safe bed makes the sun come out.

Yesterday the sun came out and made the quarantine a little more bearable to me. To celebrate, Monica and I went on a walk in the woods. I got to eavesdrop on her phone calls during the walk. It’s more fun than it sounds; I got to hear what make this quarantine a little more bearable to other people.

Monica spent an hour making phone calls trying to find spaces in hotels for three guests at the shelters who are seniors with underlying health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID19. Hennepin County has partnered with hotels in the suburbs to provide space to the most vulnerable residents. It’s not easy to get into these rooms; there’s a lot of competition. Spoiler alert, Monica was successful, but it wasn’t easy. I’ll just tell the story of one gentleman and I’ll call him Dave.

Dave is a vet with long-term injuries and underlying health conditions. He spends his nights at the Elim Church Strong Tower Parish shelters and his days on public transportation between the shelters and the VA hospital. He’s in pain. Spending his day on public transportation, he is invisible to the system and doesn’t realize it.

Monica made a few calls. Spoke to folks who didn’t have space and left voicemail for others. It was getting late. Doors were closing so Monica called Dave and suggested that he call veteran organizations now or better yet, show up in person to be more visible. He took notes and we kept walking when Monica got a call back.

It was a return call from someone at Healthcare for the Homeless. They were making dinner for their family but wanted to let Monica know that they found space for all three guests.  So Monica got to call Dave with instructions to call the hotel and transportation would be arranged. Success! For today.

Monica told Dave to recover for a couple days but then remember to connect with the veteran organization because the hotel is temporary shelter and the vets will set him up with permanent housing. But for the night – there were three hotel beds open for three vulnerable people experiencing homelessness and three beds opened at the shelter, which in turn meant an upgrade for someone who slept on the street night before.

Published by Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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