Posted by: joshjasper | June 25, 2014

Hopeless

Part of Resources Unite’s mission is to connect people to resources.  We’ve got more than 400 different services in our online resource directory.  Too often though, the resources people need don’t exist.  People fall through the cracks.  And maybe we’re too close to it now, but the cracks seems to be getting deeper, wider, and even more difficult to get back out of.

We’ve been relatively successful connecting some people’s very specific needs to the community and having the community respond in a very positive way.  This is exciting.  It’s inspiring.

You don’t see the other side of this process though.  You don’t hear me tell people “no.”  When someone calls or writes requesting support from the community, we immediately go into fact-finding mode.  Lots of questions are asked.  We want the entire picture.  We want to understand how someone got to the place in which they are requesting support from complete strangers.

If the story adds up, we then meet with the individual in person.  We talk about existing support systems, services already received, and the future.  After meeting with the individual in person, we talk the request over as a team and make a decision about next steps.  More often than not, the next steps consist of us explaining that we can’t help.  And that sucks.

Jen called me today and I had to tell her no.  Her gas is getting turned off in her apartment on July 2nd.  She’s called Black Hills Energy and pleaded her case, but to no avail.  A number of great organizations have helped her in the past, but they have no more to offer.

Jen owes $372.38.  (she got behind on the bill)  Her bank account is closed and she’s relying on her social security check of $750 to survive.  Jen’s in her mid fifties, is 100 pounds overweight, has a bit of a speech impediment, and has a medical condition that makes it difficult for her to stand for any period of time.  She needs a medical procedure done and her doctor can’t do it until she loses the extra weight.

“I was taking classes in Peosta in the child development program, but my car died and I can’t afford to take a bus or cab out there…..I’m never going to get ahead am I?”

I know I can’t put every request out there to the community, but I want to.  Jen needs to feel like someone has her back more than she needs the money.  She needs to feel like there is hope for her.

 

 

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