Homeless Family -- by a thread
Saturday I was overseeing a group of college students volunteering for a few hours. Now I can tell you I am rarely in the dispatch center on a Saturday, and even more infrequently would I bother answering the phone. In fact, I was probably only about five feet from the phone when it rang, or else I wouldn't have bothered with it.
On the other end was a desperate social worker, dealing with a homeless family; mom, dad, one kid. These people had been wandering the street for 24 hours and were about to collapse from exhaustion. Their pain and suffering was beautifully portrayed in the desperate voice of their advocate.
"I've called everyone in town. Can Nightwatch help?" I started in on my rap about families being welcome at 8:30 at night, 30 minutes before the homeless single adults show up. "What I was hoping was to get them immediately into a hotel room. . ."
I happily offered reimbursement for two nights in a cheap Aurora Ave. hotel, the deal was made, fax number exchanged, and the family taken care of at least for a few days.
Then I started thinking about how many families are not so lucky, to have any advocate at all, not so lucky that they find someone to help on a weekend. What a fluke, to be standing next to the phone and to impulsively answer it on a day devoted to cleaning out storage rooms and shampooing carpets.
That family's thread was a lot thinner than they will ever know. Let them continue in safety.