4/23/08 by Courtenay Shinn

8:20am Drop-off a check (to cover a fee for late paid rent) to Caroline at 174th and Burnside. Husband Vincent invites me in for coffee but I am running late. After thanking me profusely for the rent assistance, he encourages me to come by again soon to visit.

8:30am Walter calls to say he’s not coming on the Oaks Bottom trip and also can’t make it to our afternoon appointment. We tentatively reschedule for Friday. Another fellow, Colin, also calls to say that I shouldn’t pick him up for the trip.

8:35am Pick-up Ronald at 148th and Stark. He is disappointed to hear that Walter isn’t coming. Ronald insists we listen to the CD that he gifted me yesterday; we rock out to rap tunes for the rest of the carride. We pick up Morgan at Motel 6 just before arriving at JOIN. Morgan has not been to the doctor about his infected surgical incision, but it is looking much, much better. He promises to go to the doctor tomorrow.

9:15am Field trip! Annie (HILLTOP award-winning retention worker) has organized a medicinal/edible plant walking tour of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. A decent crowd of 20ish folks are gathered at JOIN for the outting. Coffee and donuts are shared. It looks like Annie and Steve can fit everyone in 2 vans, so I decide to stay behind and get some computer work done.

11:00am Make calls to a dozen folks that I haven’t seen or heard from recently. Nobody answers, but I leave messages inviting everyone on our trip to the gorge next week. Talk to Christy Sue who was recently evicted from her trailer park and had settled at a new one. She says the new place was a week-to-week trailer park, and she exhausted the maximum allowable time there. She and her partner still have their mobile home, but they haven’t had any luck finding a new trailer park. I encourage her to come in and see Mike (her outreach worker) at the office next week on Tuesday.

12:30pm Lunch with Lio (outreach worker) at a cafe close to JOIN. We take the opportunity to discuss some of the folks that we both work with, but mostly we just catch up on each other’s lives. Since much of our time at JOIN as retention/outreach workers is spent out of the office working one-on-one with folks, any time spent in the company of co-workers is a real treat!

1:30pm I really need to get out of the office and go visit a few folks at home, but Lio and I are waiting on Sherry to come in and meet with us. In the past 9 months Lio and I have put more time into supporting Sherry than almost any of our other households, as she battled DHS for custody of her kids, attended in-patient drug treatment, enrolled in JOIN’s “Mothers Helping Mothers” mentorship program, and got her first job EVER. We are both incredibly proud of what she has done to turn her own life around, but recently she has not been in very good contact with us. We want to meet and make sure that things are still going well for her; we also need to discuss her housing voucher that will time-out next month.

2:30pm Still waiting on Sherry; Lio calls her to find out that she is running late and the kids are throwing tantrums on the bus. Sherry and Lio decide to meet tomorrow without me (and without the kids).

2:45pm I receive a call with some terrible news. One of my households had applied to live at a site-based Section 8 apartment, and while Doris had been approved, Ted had been denied based on his criminal record. The manager of the apartment is calling to inform me that Ted’s appeal of his denial has been reviewed and again denied. I am devasted for Doris and Ted – they’re an incredible couple that has been working very hard to find jobs and develop an income to afford their current apartment. Since they’ve had little luck finding work, moving into Section 8 housing when their voucher ends next month would have been a fantastic solution. The job search will continue, but I worry that we don’t have enough time to resolve the situation.

3:00pm Janet appears at JOIN; she is hoping I can give her a ride over to the Pregnancy Resource Center to pick up a highchair and babygate that they have given to her. I definitely hadn’t planned on running this errand today, but I know how much Janet has been wanting a high chair, and her home isn’t too far out of the way of where I am going to visit someone else. We hop in the car and head out.

3:45pm I drop Janet at home; somehow the day has escaped me and I don’t have enough time for both my remaining appointments. I call Allison to reschedule our visit. Allison recently had a baby and is a full-time student at Portland Community College. She’s doing a fantastic job as a first-time mom, and I am excited to see how much baby Ethan has grown in the 2 weeks since I last saw him!

4:15pm I have a long phone conversation with the representative that made the decision to deny Ted’s appeal. I share glowing reviews of my experiences with Ted since he moved into housing last June, but the representative remains firm by her decision. Ted needs to establish a few more months of clean record before they can feel comfortable renting to him. She encourages me to have Ted reapply the next time there is a vacancy. Who knows when that could be???

4:35pm I pick-up Roger at home to take him grocery shopping. Roger is feeling grumpy about his broken leg, the discomfort of wearing a cast, and the limitations of hobbling around on crutches. The prescription pain medicine isn’t helping as much as he hoped it would, and his foot is starting to swell, turn purple, and lose circulation. I can’t convince him to go back to the hospital tonight, but he agrees to let me take him first thing tomorrow morning. I drive Roger to the grocery store, help him get his groceries, take him home, and call it a day!