The St. Martin’s Outreach Team had contacted William on a couple of occasions this past spring/early summer of 2016. We would see him in the area of Wyoming and Central, which is a hot bed location for drug activity and is a corridor for folks experiencing homelessness. It was not until we got a call from a clinician from the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) of APD that our relationship with William began. William is chronically homeless, and in his 27 years, has had several episodes of homelessness. This time, he was abandoned by his mother and began squatting in an abandoned RV.
William is autistic with Asperger’s disease with low social functioning. He is also extremely smart, and each time he’d displayed his intelligence we would remind him saying, “William, you’re SO smart!” he would grin the biggest grin. He is also musically inclined and would ask to play the flute we have in our office. Once he showed up to our office with a guitar and played it while we met. The clinician and detectives from CIU encouraged him come see our Outreach Team. He showed up to the shelter and the shelter staff called and informed us he was there. When he came into our office for the first time, we found out that loud, piercing noises bothered him. When he was here, I would disarm the entry alert on our door and he would reattach it when he left. He warmed up to us quickly.
I completed a coordinated assessment and asked him to check in regularly. I would also meet the CIU unit at the RV he was staying in for wellness checks. They came to know him because he was threatening to jump off of a bridge. Allegedly his family would tell him to kill himself when there were conflicts. In the RV, there were signs all around that said, “PLEASE DON’T TELL WILLIAM TO JUMP OFF OF A BRIDGE WHEN YOU ARE MAD AT HIM” and signs with resource numbers to call for help. Conflict was a trigger for him.
It took three days to complete the intake for Behavioral Health (BH). This gave us another glimpse of the trauma he had experienced in his life. He met with one of our therapists for his BH assessment. We completed a Heading Home housing application and this, the idea of housing, became our biggest challenge. He didn’t want to leave the area he was familiar with, so it took some encouraging from the team of people who cared for William. He received his voucher and our Outreach team took him to apartments near his familiar surroundings. His initial comment was, “There’s no shower curtain” and “where will my couch go?” There is so much we could share with you but we don’t have the time. Surrounded by 12 people from all over, including APD, CIU, Adult Protective Services (APS) and SMHC staff, Will signed his lease on his apartment last Thursday. No more room for more, because his story is not over yet…..
Below is a drawing he did for us on our dry erase board.