Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meet an LPCS Graduate!

We love to share to good news when someone graduates from LPCS.  Here is the story of one individual who graduated earlier this year:

Steve* entered LPCS with a lifetime history of over 30 years of substance abuse problems.  A former truck driver, he has also lost his driver's license due to his failure to make child-support payments.  Once in the shelter, he went through intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment for more than two months, and attended at least 6 AA meetings per week.   In addition to working on his sobriety, Steve took a 5 week long computer course and completed a job readiness program where he worked on his resume, practiced writing cover letters, and did extensive mock interviewing.  Working with an employment counselor, within a few weeks of the job readiness program ending Steve obtained a short-term factory job to gain current employment experience.   Using the income he earned from that position, he was able to pay the back child-support payments and obtained his drivers license once again.  Steve then applied and was accepted to be a full-time driver for PACE paratransit services, earning a living wage with excellent benefits.  He has now moved into his own apartment, sees his family members on a regular basis, and has been sober for almost 2 years.

*Name has been changed to protect identity

Friday, October 7, 2011

What are you doing for World Homeless Action Day?

Monday, October 10th will be the second annual World Homeless Action Day. In Chicago alone there are over 21,000 homeless individuals on a given night. Anyone can become homeless and stereotypes need to be replaced with accurate information. Most guests at the shelter never expected to be homeless. They previously had jobs and housing and just need assistance accessing resources so they can get back on their feet.

With millions of people around the world dealing with homelessness, it is clear that this is an issue that needs attention and that is exactly what the day was created to do. One of the co-founders, Brianna Karp, was in her early twenties when she lost her job and became homeless. While still homeless she became an advocate for other homeless people and started World Homeless Action Day as an opportunity for members of all communities to get involved. Hers is truly an inspirational story.

How can you observe World Homeless Action Day? You can respond to homelessness locally, by getting involved at a community shelter or outreach center and by using the day as a platform to speak out about the needs of the homeless. Since it is only the second year of this day of observance, its existence is not yet widely known. For this reason, it is more important than ever for us to share this information with others to allow for continued expansion of participation from organizations and community members. It also means we need to be creative in developing collaborative methods for observing this day. Homelessness can end, but only with community-wide involvement.