Stories from the Basement

Stories from the Basement: August 2018

by Donna Clark RN, Director

Summer time is usually a little slower for us and we can take a deep breath, reorganize our shelves and attend to things left undone. Not so this summer. We have seen an influx of new homeless people from Chicago, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and several other east coast states. When they arrive at our office they have a list of needs and as we interview them we identify other issues they haven’t even thought of yet. The two different lists almost never match.

Of course the first priority is getting their Maryland ID’s so they can obtain assistance and get housed. One new client this past Friday stretched our patience to the limit. She was in her 50’s, seemingly educated, claiming not able to see well. We tried to get her focused on the need to switch her Illinois ID to Maryland so she could get Medical Assistance to allow her to see a Primary Care Physician for her multiple health issues. She insisted on applying for benefits online and on the phone. By the time she left she had utilized all three of our intake personnel, tied the phone up for over an hour, and was finally told to return on Monday for any further requests. We served 51 different people around her and all of us were emotionally exhausted. We recognize that we are to remain patient with each client but sometimes the client can use up everything we have and drain the staff.

This lady is just an example of the diverse population that is passing through the community this summer. Because Salisbury is at the crossroads of Maryland’s Eastern Shore Peninsula, many people who are trying to find a better place to live will pass through our town. They bring the same problems with them that they are trying to escape from and don’t realize things will not change until they do. Just changing surrounding doesn’t fix the problem. When we try to walk them through the social and health maze they get frustrated and often impatient. Please keep us in your prayers this summer as we try to serve God’s children.

Romans 12: 9-18