5/2/08 Outreach by Liz Weber

I meet Mike, my outreach partner in North/Northeast Portland, at 7 am. Earlier in the week we got an email message from a Crime Prevention Coordinator we partner with about some campers near Marine Drive and at Delta Park so we head out to North Portland in a light drizzle. There are no campers at either spot, but by 9 am, I have managed to get stuck on a fence, have completely wet feet, and am very much looking forward to a cup of coffee.

Mike and I then drive to St. Johns to visit our friends Sarah and Joe. The couple has been outside for about three years but Sarah just got her first SSI check so they are now looking for apartments. Joe is optimistic about a duplex they visited and we agree that if they are accepted, JOIN will pay the deposit and Joe and Sarah will pay the first month rent with her first check.

After coffee and some breakfast, Mike and I part ways and I pick up my friend, Linda, in North Portland.

The day before, we got the very good news that Linda’s application for an apartment was accepted, so we go to her new residence to fill out paperwork for the Shelter Plus Care voucher that will be paying her rent. On the drive back to North Portland, Linda talks about all the things she is looking forward to doing in her new place. She says that since she has been outside, her daughter hasn’t let her visit her grandchildren and now that she has a place, she is going to be able to reconnect with them.

I head back to the office, check my email and voice mail and pick up a JOIN van to help another friend move.

I arrive at 1:30. No one is there and the door is locked. Bad sign. My friend was supposed to be out of her apartment a couple days ago and the landlord is going to meet us at 3:00. I call my friend and she says she will be here soon. While I wait, I visit another friend who lives in the same apartment building.

At 2:30 my friend arrives but she doesn’t have the key either. We have to wait for the landlord.

When he arrives and opens her door, it is obvious that she isn’t even close to being done. We work for a couple hours but it is clear that we won’t finish today. By 5:30, the landlord is annoyed, I am hot and tired, and my friend is very stressed out. The landlord agrees to give my friend the rest of the weekend to complete the move and we take the van load of stuff to her new apartment.