Posts Tagged ‘homeless illness’

A few weeks ago, a new client arrived at the Center for Respite Care with a horrific case of frostbite.  Freezing rain splashed off the sidewalk as he gingerly walked to our front door with only bandages on his feet.  The frostbite was a result of working as a parking garage attendant.  Today, he is healing, but still faces toe amputation. 

Personally, I’m not a fan of cold weather.  Our current weather makes me want to hide underneath the covers–or, at least, it used to.  One recent morning, I woke up and immediately decided I had left a window open.   I dug out my trusty thermometer: fifty-eight degrees!

I called my landlord, but ten days later, the whole building was fifty degrees.  The landlord came over, but it was too late to call for repairs.  We went without heat that night.

There is a big difference between having some heat and having no heat.  I piled three comforters on the bed, cranked up a tiny space heater, and shivered.

My heat was fixed the next day, but not everyone is so lucky.  In fact, every night in Cincinnati, hundreds of homeless men, women, and children are without heat and shelter.  Unlike me, they have little hope of reprieve until summer.  What little time and money they have go toward finding the next meal, tracking down loved ones, and waiting for benefits such as food stamps and rental assistance.  The unlucky ones develop pneumonia, frostbite, infections, and cancer.

If you’re snowed in today, appreciate your heat!  And consider helping your fellow citizens find shelter, heat, and medical care.  The economy is tight for everyone, and no group feels this more acutely than the homeless.

To make a donation to the Center for Respite Care visit our website.

Check back soon for Respite in the news.  (Hint: did you see Respite in the Enquirer last Sunday?)


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This is week two of my latest installment, songs that remind us of homelessness.  “Harry Hippy” is an old Bobby Womack song and is recommended by Kathy, our Housing Coordinator. 

This is a totally different style than “Mr. Wendal” and has a different message as well.  In our interpretation, Harry is a chronically homeless individual, one of the ones you can’t always reach.  We have some clients like Harry – sometimes we can help them, and sometimes they choose a different path.  Like Harry, they each sing their own song.

When someone choses an addiction or self-destructive habit over an outstretched hand, it raises so many questions; how did this person slip through the cracks?  What could we have done differently?  I think this song expresses some of that sense of loss and frustration. 


Coming next week . . .

Read the story of Mike T., a former mechanic and drug addict who found his way out of homelessness via Respite Permanent Housing – he’s moving into his new place tomorrow!  And although Mike isn’t a “Harry Hippy,” he used one of the same phrases that was used in the song when I interviewed him, “just floating around,” to describe homelessness.  His is truly a homeless success story.

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