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Monday, July 14, 2008

love takes no less than everything

There was a lot in today.
I walked to work today which would've been more enjoyable if it wasn't raining. Nevertheless, it was awesome. It's about a four mile walk eachy way. Probably longer because I tend to take detours so I can see cool stuff. I have a good internal compass of the city so I didn't have to worry about getting lost. Plus I work on Broad which is one of the main streets. I think I've found out why I love walking so much besides the fact that it saves me $15 a week. My love language is quality time (http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/) and walking gives me quality time with my new city. I was able to watch parents taking their kids to school, walk through some charming neighborhoods and find out about wonderful little hole in the wall places. Plus I get to walk through the heart of the museum district and pass by the infamous steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum where Rocky ran. It's wonderful.
This morning we had a meeting with a clinical pysch professor for LaSalle who wanted to coordinate a service learning program with us and the students in his career counseling class. At first I was really not impressed with this class. We do work a lot on the development of student leaders but we are client focused resource center. I mean he was just talking about this project like our clients were lab rats that his students could use all of their assessment tools on. But I resisted building a pyschological block and after hearing him out as well as explaining more thoroughly who we are and what we will expect from our students I got really excited. It's a great opportunity for our clients because they will have someone working with them who has more expertise in looking for jobs. There are definite tweaks to be made but it could be a good relationship.
I felt pretty bad afterwards because one of our summer directors who had scheduled the meeting was meeting with a client and I think he really wanted to be apart of that meeting. When Alex leaves, Shawn and I will be thier supervisors. It's my first management type thing and awkward because one of our SD's is actually older than me. Our boss is setting up some teambuilders for us and I've even been given some best practices on supervising so things should be fine.
Two of the training areas for today where what to do with clients who are in crisis or have mental health issues and housing resources in the Philadelphia area. Both incredibly frustrating and at time depressing areas.
Some of our clients actually put themselves in crisis centers or mental health centers because it's better than their living situations. In some cases they treat it like a vacation. It does horrors for thier insurance though. Since they tend to go back and forth with being in centers and not and usually only stay for a short period of time, if they are in a real crisis their insurance companies are reluctant to pay out for them. Although it sounds irresponsible, the living situations of some are clients makes it easy to see why someone would check themselves into a center so they could get a warm place to live, a therapist to talk to and three meals a day. Yet it says a lot about our country.
Our clients are incredibly intelligent and resourceful and know the system well. Yet in their attempt to meet their basic needs, such as shelter and sustenance, they overlook the long-term consequences that make it difficult for them down the road.
Housing. One.big.headache. The lack of afforable housing in this city should be causing some sort of downright uprising.
Their are basically two types of programs, federal or government and private.
Section 8 housing in Philadelphia has a waiting list of 60,000 people and has been closed for years. The Philadelphia Housing Authority which also provides public housing has about a 10 year waiting list. Philly is trying to build new housing but ofcourse faces opposition from those NIMBY (not in my backyard) folks. Some of the affordable housing places look really nice which uspets some people who feel that they're two nice for poor people. Okay.
Another interesting thing is that there are some people who are fortunate to get into these programs who, for some reason or another, decide they want to get out. The problem is they've lived with public housing costs for so long that they don't understand market value. The purpose of public housing is to make housing costs fit into your budget. I believe nationally, housing isn't supposed to take up more than 30% of your budget. For example, one person had a five bedroom apartment for only $95 a month and wanted to leave because of a bad landlord. It's understandle that after being in that system for so long, the person wouldn't have a realistic idea of how much an apartment should be.
Another issue is that people tend to get comfortable in public housing and don't attempt to save their extra income to get out. So there is most likely a slow turnover that results in the long wait lists. I don't know.

Anyway that was the day. I had a great walk home. I got really excited when I got home and saw I got my paycheck. I thought I would be happier. But I realize I have everything I need. I'm well fed, I get to work, I got clothes, I have a roof over my head. What more could I need. I think this is the first time that I've received money and haven't felt the urge to spend it.
However, I did really want a candy bar and gathered all of my change to go to CVS and get one. But on my way there I thought, with this dollar I could by three grapefruits at the produce truck. So it became this battle, candy bar or grapefruits. As I was walking to the produce truck, I was relieved. It was closed and I had the best candy bar ever.

Song: If not now by Tracy Chapman

Quote: I feel like a tiny bird with a big song. Jerry Van Amerongen

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