We never know what a day at The Human Impact is truly going to look like. Sometimes
we have our own plans, but God takes us another direction. This particular Monday morning,
plans changed suddenly when we got a call that our friend Cece was admitted into an addiction recovery program.
Amanda and I quickly started our search to find Cece. The previous week, we helped Cece get into one of the nearby shelters where she required a negative COVID test to be admitted. Luckily we were able to find Cece fairly quickly, as we were needing to be at the treatment center before noon.
We loaded her belongings into the car and the three of us drove to the treatment center together. As we drove, we filled our time with speaking truth over fears and overwhelming emotions. We prayed together and sought peace and God’s hand over the day we were starting.
Road Block #1: COVID and Meds
When we arrived at the recovery center, we were delighted to see that the location
fixed their handicap accessibility, as Cece cannot walk and sits in a wheelchair. The admissions staff were very kind and worked efficiently. We soon hit our first road block. They required a proof of a negative COVID test, which we did not have with us. We knew Cece tested negative at the shelter, so we started making phone calls, waiting two hours before reaching someone who could verify Cece’s negative COVID test. We were so excited!
Now all she needed was to go through the admissions process. We continued to wait until we were notified that we hit another road block. Cece has a medical condition that requires a medication that is essential for her stay at the treatment center, however, she ran out of this medication. She would not be admitted until she had her medication.
Road Block #2: Denied Services
Cece’s medical coverage only allows for her to be seen through the Parkland HOMES
mobile bus services. Luckily, one of these buses was parked in the treatment center’s parking
lot. We knocked on the door, only to be denied service because she was not currently residing at the treatment center we were currently trying to admit her into. They directed us back to the shelter she had been staying at to see the Parkland HOMES bus there. So, we packed Cece’s belongings into the car again, and we headed back to the shelter.
When we arrived at the second bus, Cece was denied services once again. This time she
was denied because there was no handicap accessibility to enter the bus, and for liability
reasons, they could not risk her falling on the steps. After discussing how their lack of handicap accessibility discriminated against many in need, they directed us to another shelter to ask for a Parkland doctor. So again, we packed up our things and drove to another location.
A Woman Named Dedra
When we arrived at the next shelter, we were not allowed inside because of the strict
COVID intake process. Instead, staff members met us outside. We explained our day and our
needs to them. One women in particular, Dedra, listened to us and heard us, trying to see the gaps. As soon as we were able to understand the gaps together, she went inside to make a few phone calls, and soon after, she came out letting us know Cece’s medication was ready for pickup.
Dedra shared her own story out of addiction and homelessness, explaining how she
seeks to advocate for others now. Her story touched Cece’s heart, as Cece received hope for
her own life and dreams.
Parkland and a Nice Hotel
Our next stop, we went to Parkland to pick up the medication. When it was my turn to
speak to the pharmacist, he informed me that the medication would not be ready for two days. I explained to him that we could not wait two days, and that we need the medication that day. He kindly rushed my order and offered further assistance if it continued to take too long. Half an hour later, we had Cece’s medications, and we were ready to put her in a hotel for the night.
We were able to find Cece a hotel room with handicap accessibility. The joy on her face to have this space and hope for what was to come was priceless. She spent the night and we were able to get her into addiction recovery the next morning.
We are Learning
Every day we are learning as a team what it means to advocate for our friends experiencing homelessness. We see the gaps and road blocks, and it is frustrating.
However, we are thankful for every moment. Without the road blocks on this particular day, we wouldn’t have learned what gaps there are in healthcare for the homeless and we wouldn’t have met Dedra who was a source of hope and encouragement for us and Cece.
We are continually learning what advocating entails each day and trusting in God every step of the way.