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I heard a song today that touched my heart and simply captures what it is we are trying to do with our street outreach.

Here is a video, sung by Micheal Stipe (REM) and Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs). The song is written by John Prine.

I’ve also posted the lyrics to the song:

Hello in There

Had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
It’s been years since the kids have grown,
Lives of their own, all left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
I still don’t know what for, guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

Chorus:
Old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers, wilder every day.
But old people they just grow lonesome
They’re waiting for someone to say, say “Hello in there.” Just say “Hello”

Me and Loretta, we don’t talk much now,
She just sits staring at the back door screen.
Why not, when all the news it just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we’ve both seen.
One day I’ll go and call up Billy,
We worked together in the factory.
But what do I say if he asks “What’s new?”
Say “Nothing, what’s with you?” There’s not much left
to do

Repeat Chorus:

Old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder every day.
But old people they just grow lonesome
While they’re waiting for someone to say, say “Hello in there.” Say “Hello”

So if you’re walking down the street one time
And you spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Don’t turn around as if you didn’t care, or stop and stare
Just say “Hello in there”
Just say “Hello”

Say “Hello”

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My first client is now settled in and overwhelmingly happy about this significant turnaround in her life. This is everything she has been hoping for: a home and her independence. I say “home” because her placement is truly not just housing, but a home for her.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have helped this woman and to see her come back to life. She has changed so dramatically that had I not watched the progression, it would be hard to believe. Through the counseling she received from VeraMax, she showed marked improvement over the three months leading up to her placement. Then the placement itself entirely changed her mood and overall mental health.

It has been a difficult process to start up VeraMax and there are many challenges that lie ahead but this success, this one life we have been able to improve, let’s us know that we are on the right track. It can be difficult to see the light at times when some of these homeless women have such difficulties and trust is so hard to build. We were truly blessed with this first experience because ultimately those are what will sustain our momentum and passion.

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Success!!

Oh Happy Day!! My first client has a home. This day came MUCH sooner than expected thanks to a brand new non-profit organization that provides long-term transitional housing for Seniors. They are called Lavender Communities, based in Oakland, California and just opened in April of this year.

My client is simply beside herself with excitement and she is not alone! Because of the absolute lack of appropriate transitional housing and the 1-7 year wait lists for permanent housing, I did not expect to get her housed for quite some time.

This transitional, independent housing accepts seniors 65 and older for a period of up to 5 years as long as they are on wait lists for permanent housing and have a housing counselor. The unit is a quaint house in residential neighborhood in Oakland with 3 bedrooms. Tenants have shared use of the bathroom, kitchen and furnished living areas in addition to a washer and dryer. There is even a backyard patio lined with rose bushes.

This is the transitional home we found for our first client

This is the transitional home we found for our first client

As this is the first and only unit for Lavender Communities, we were luck to get in before it filled. Business is just starting to pick up for them as they get their name out. Many thanks to Mike McGinley at Curry Senior Center for the tip!!

We will help my client with a deposit and help her move in this week. As an added note, my client is now on several wait lists for Senior Communities and on the road to permanent housing!

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