Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group

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This is a story of a very special young woman entrenched in street life here in the Tri-Cities. She is a survivor and definitely a character, we can call her Megan. She won’t deny that she is addicted to drugs or struggles with mental health issues or that it’s holding her in the lifestyle. We have helped her several times to access resources for treatment, shelters etc. The wait lists for some of these places are so long that it’s hard for her to keep calling and hoping to get in for weeks on end. When and if she gets in she will stay from a couple days to a couple months than leave for one reason or another. While to some people it may be discouraging that it doesn’t seem to stick, I can’t help but shake the thought that one day she might just have a shot at a long fulfilling life. She is young and when you wipe the sadness and the drugs away you can see how beautiful she is. I don’t think that she has ever had a semblance of normal life. Megan knows the reality of her situation that people die on the streets or even worse, just exist. I will never forget the winter of 2006; the snow fell as hard as she did. I was at city hall as usual giving out coffee . and snacks when she plunked down shivering beside me. Even with a blanket wrapped around her and the body heat of her junkyard dog she was on the verge of hypothermia. I am usually the one who is a stickler about keeping a professional distance but that night my heart broke for her. She looked at me with sad exhausted eyes and said, “Please just sit beside me and give me your warmth”. I let her huddle up next to me and gave her some coffee. One thing I have noticed about Megan is she never gives up and I admire that. I know any day we could get a call asking for help again. That is what we are here for, that’s our job. Sometimes it takes a long time or never happens but when our clients are ready and willing we help them. I think we all need someone who believes in us no matter where we are in life; someone who will never give up, and stand by our side. I know that for Megan, I plan to be there, because tomorrow is when the miracle could happen. In the mean time I will be here to listen and hopefully she won’t feel so alone.

Laura Binette

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