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Crossroads Rhode Island Blog


Overwhelmed
By Karen Santilli / August 26, 2016
Sometimes it feels so easy to get overwhelmed by this work - to wonder why we do it. 


Every day I see faces of people - some new, some familiar, some very young, some very old - seemingly struggling with basic day-to-day survival. I've spent time recently working with our front line staff on the streets and in shelter. The work they do every day, day after day, amazes me. I honestly don't know where they get their motivation and strength. 


After just one day, I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. I think, "How can we possibly help and house all these people...men, women and children?" It feels like there are simply too many - and I want to help each and every one of them. I feel like I want to fix their problems and make their lives better - and then I stop. 


I think about our Housing First model at Crossroads. And I remember that a friend once shared something with me called, "The History of Shelters" and how as a society we've progressed from thinking that people are sinners or addicts that need fixing to a place where we see that people are people and need housing. 


I remember our best practice of assessing people and prioritizing them based on their level of need. I'm reminded that many people actually have the resources to end their own homelessness and just need a little help from us. And I remember that our staff is working with those with the highest level of need and are successfully housing them and providing them the supports they need to remain stably housed. 


I look around at those still waiting and know with complete confidence that they too will soon get the help they need to have a place they can call home and spend the night in the safety of their own apartment in their own bed. And I remember why I do this work.

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